England’s Rollout of the Moderna Vaccine Begins

England is to begin giving out doses of the Moderna jab – the third vaccine introduced in its national rollout – as everyone over the age of 50 is offered their first dose of a vaccine. Bookings are also opening online for those aged 45-49 to get vaccinated. Wales was the first British country to begin rolling out the Moderna jab last week and has since reached the milestone of vaccinating half of its population. Seventeen million doses of the vaccine have been bought by the Government, which is enough to vaccinate about 8.5 million people. BBC News has the story.

England is giving out its first doses of the Moderna jab, the third Covid vaccine in the nation’s rollout.

It will be available at 21 sites, including the Madejski Stadium in Reading and the Sheffield Arena. …

More than 32 million people in the UK have now had a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and nearly 7.7 million have had both doses.

Prof Stephen Powis, Medical Director of NHS England, said having “a third jab in our armoury” marked another “milestone” in the vaccine programme.

He said more sites would offer the Moderna vaccine as further supplies arrive. …

The Moderna vaccine uses a similar innovative RNA technology to the Pfizer jab, but it is stored at lower temperatures of -20C like a normal freezer, compared to -70C for the Pfizer vaccine. It can also be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures. …

Trial results suggested efficacy against the disease was 94.1%, and vaccine efficacy against severe Covid-19 was 100%.

More than 30,000 people in the US took part in the trial, from a wide range of age groups and ethnic backgrounds.

The vaccine will be used alongside Pfizer’s Covid jab as an alternative to that produced by AstraZeneca for people below the age of 30 (possibly even those aged 30-39) because of the AZ jab’s link to blood clots.

The NHS said the Moderna and Pfizer jabs would be used for under-30s who were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine but whose appointments were rearranged.

Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – which advises the UK Government on vaccines – recommended that under-30s be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of the “utmost caution” following reports of blood clots in about four in one million cases.

The NHS said the majority of appointments in April were for second doses, but first dose appointments were still available for people in the initial priority groups who have not yet been immunised – including the over-50s, people who are clinically vulnerable or those working in health or social care.

The vaccine will, however, only be offered as an alternative where possible.

The BBC News report is worth reading in full.

British Rollout of the Moderna Covid Vaccine Begins as AstraZeneca Supply Dries Up

Britain’s rollout of the Moderna vaccine began today amid disruptions in its supply of the AstraZeneca jab which faces continuing scrutiny regarding its connection to rare blood clots. Reuters has the story.

Britain began using Moderna’s Covid vaccine on Wednesday in Wales just as its rollout of other shots fell to their lowest level this year due to a supply crunch caused by manufacturing problems at AstraZeneca.

Britain has surged ahead of the rest of Europe in the race to vaccinate its population, with almost half of its citizens receiving a first dose. But supply issues from its main AstraZeneca shot have slowed progress in recent days.

Britain distributed almost 96,000 shots on Sunday and just over 105,000 on Monday, the lowest figures since the Government started publishing daily numbers in January.

It had warned that the rollout would slow in April due to AstraZeneca’s manufacturing issues, including at a site in India.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would not go into details about supply and delivery timelines but said the country remained on track to provide a first dose to all adults by the end of July.

That rollout will now be bolstered by the addition of the Moderna shot. Already used in the United States and other parts of Europe, it becomes the third vaccine to be used in Britain after AstraZeneca and one from Pfizer.

The Prime Minister has welcomed the arrival of the Moderna vaccine, saying that 17 million doses of the jab have been ordered.

The disruption to the supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine comes as the jab is under scrutiny regarding its link to rare blood clots. Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are due to give an update on this issue shortly.

The Reuters report is worth reading in full.