The NHS will begin administering the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine tomorrow (Monday) as the health service rapidly scales up the biggest immunisation programme in its history.
The first Oxford AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered at a small number of hospitals for the first few days for surveillance purposes, as is standard practice, before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services later in the week.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where the vaccine was developed, is expected to be among the first sites to administer it on Monday morning.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The delivery of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine marks another first for the NHS, and a major milestone in humanity’s battle against coronavirus.
“The vaccination programme – the biggest in NHS history – has got off to a strong start, and by New Year’s Day we’d been able to vaccinate more people than the rest of Europe combined. Now we have a second, more versatile, jab in our armoury, and NHS staff are expanding the programme as extra vaccine supplies come onstream, and the arrival of the Oxford jab, coupled with more Pfizer vaccine being made available, will allow us to protect many more people faster.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The Oxford vaccine is a triumph of British science and I want to thank everyone involved in its development and production.
“From tomorrow, the NHS will start using the Oxford vaccine to give protection against Covid 19.
“We know there are challenges still ahead of us over the coming weeks and months, but I’m confident this is the year we will defeat Coronavirus and start building back better.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Through its vaccine delivery plan, our exceptional NHS has now delivered over a million vaccinations to patients across the UK. The vaccine is our way out and this huge achievement brings us a step closer to the normality we’ve all been working hard to reclaim.
“From tomorrow, the British public will begin to receive a second highly effective vaccine, starting with the most vulnerable and frontline care home and NHS staff, another significant milestone in the expansion of the vaccination programme.
“This will be a historic day, and cause for celebration, but it’s vital everyone continues to follow the rules and remember hands, face, space, to keep ourselves and others safe.”