Amid rising cases, United Kingdom rolls out new vaccine

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The UK became the first nation in the world on Monday to start using the new Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, ramping up a nationwide inoculation programme as rising infection rates are putting an unprecedented strain on British hospitals.

In total, the United Kingdom has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and 30 million of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be shared out fairly among the four nations.

Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old retired maintenance manager, received the first jab at Oxford's Churchill Hospital, NHS England said. It's the second injection to be authorised for emergency use in Britain, after one from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE received the go-ahead in early December. Pollard was a lead investigator on the vaccine's trial.

But The U.K.'s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization said authorities should give the first vaccine dose to as many people as possible, rather than setting aside shots to ensure others receive two doses.

Its government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and aims to inoculate 10 million people in four priority groups by mid-February.

"With most of the country already under extreme measures, it's clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out", Johnson said in a televised address.

The Russian vaccine was also claimed to be 90-percent effective, but the underlying data has yet to be published.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at PHE, said: "We do not recommend mixing the Covid-19 vaccines - if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa".

'The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I can now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife, Shirley, later this year'.

"Our health care heroes are not only working to vaccinate critical health care personnel, but they are caring for patients who are overwhelming hospitals", Pennsylvania Health Department spokeswoman Rachel Kostelac told The Washington Times.

Amid a third wave of COVID-19 in Europe, likely fueled by holiday gatherings and made worse by a more transmissible variant of the British coronavirus (B117), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced a new lockdown, following recent announcements from Ireland and Scotland.

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He also emphasized on the importance of ensuring crowd management when the vaccination drive finally begins. The exercise was held at Kalaburagi, Shivamogga, Mysuru, Belagavi, and Bengaluru districts of Karnataka.

On Sunday, it reported another 54,990 cases and 454 virus-related deaths - taking the official number of deaths from the virus to 75,024.

So the government can concentrate on more people can having just the first dose that still offers high levels of protection.

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, now known as AZD1222 co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-off company, Vaccitech, is being trialed by the University's Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group.

For the next six weeks, the public may leave the home only to shop for necessities, go to work, exercise in their local area, seek medical help and attend education or child care if authorized.

Everyone will still receive their second dose, but this will now be within 12 weeks of their first.

"When resources of doses and people to vaccinate are limited, then vaccinating more people with potentially less efficacy is demonstrably better than a fuller efficacy in only half".

The NHS will inform people when it is their turn to get the vaccine.

But while there was a sense of euphoria at the launch of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last month in Coventry, today's landmark moment was a much more subdued affair. Foster said: "Every single patient that we have vaccinated over the last couple of weeks have got their personal stories to the difference it's going to make, so it is no different this morning".

Mass vaccinations are considered key to breaking the back of the pandemic, which has impacted all walks of life and severely restricted activities that involve large gatherings. A process which usually takes years has been condensed to months.

"After the marathon of previous year, we are indeed now in a sprint, a race to vaccinate the vulnerable faster than the virus can reach them, and every needle in every arm makes a difference", Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday.

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