UK: Dialysis patient, 82, first to get Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

UK: Dialysis patient, 82, first to get Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Britain has taken another step in the fight against COVID-19, administering the world's first shots of the vaccine created by Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

Dialysis patient Brian Pinker was the first person in the country to be given the jab outside of clinical trials, at Oxford University Hospital, NHS England said.

"I am so pleased to be getting the Covid vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford", Mr Pinker, a retired maintenance manager, said just a few hundred metres from where the vaccine was developed.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted that he was delighted that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been rolled out across the whole country.

Johnson said on Sunday that tougher restrictions were likely, even with millions already living under the strictest tier of rules. The UK Parliament will be recalled to sit on Wednesday.

The new and more infectious variant of Covid-19 has been detected in Northern Ireland and the number of coronavirus infections has increased rapidly. On Monday, they reported 407 virus-related deaths to push the confirmed death toll total to 75,431, one of the worst in Europe.

The public has been advised to stay at home, and non-essential shops have been shut, along with bars, restaurants and other hospitality and entertainment venues.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston said that according to one of the government's scientific advisers, the reason for Mr Hancock's "worry" about the South African Covid-19 variant is that they are not as confident the vaccines will be as effective against it as they are for the UK's variant. School closures are extended until February except for children of key workers and children under social care.

In England alone, 23,557 people were in hospitals with COVID-19 on Saturday.

Britain's National Health Service has been delivering shots to health care workers and nursing home residents and staff since December 8 of a vaccine made by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech.

The UK has secured 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine - enough for most of the population.

It can also kept in the fridge while Pfizer-BioNTech's requires storage at ultra-low temperatures.

Hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to open this week, joining the 700 which are already in operation, to administer the first 500,000 doses of the new vaccine.

But aspects of Britain's vaccination plan have spurred controversy.

The 4.2 million people vaccinated so far with the Pfizer and Moderna shots are far below the official predictions of 20 million by the new year.

Germany's BioNTech, along with its United States partner Pfizer, was the first company in the world to develop an effective vaccine against the virus.

While two doses are required to fully protect against COVID-19, both provide high levels of protection after the first dose, the committee said. The priority is to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said policymakers are being forced to balance the potential risks of this change against the benefits in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

"It looks as though secondary schools probably play more of a role in the spread of the epidemic than primary schools, so we'll have to look very hard at what we do with secondary schools later in the month", he said.

Israel appears to be among the world leaders in the vaccination campaign, inoculating over 1 million people, or roughly 12% of its population, in just over two weeks.

In England alone, 23,557 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Saturday.

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