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

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

The Prime Minister referred to the existence of the vaccines as the "one huge difference" in fighting the pandemic now compared to past year.

Against a darkening backdrop of record daily cases, Britain touted a scientific "triumph" as dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, became the first person to get the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot outside of a trial.

Mr Pinker said he was pleased and could "now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year".

Vietnam now has two other Covid-19 vaccines under development, by the Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech) and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac). Cases of COVID-19 in Britain have risen sharply in recent weeks, fuelled by a new and more transmissible variant of the virus.

More than 730 vaccination sites have already been established across the United Kingdom and hundreds more are opening this week to take the total to over 1,000, helping those who are most at risk from COVID-19 to access vaccines for free, regardless of where they live.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, "I am delighted that today we are rolling out the Oxford vaccine - a testament to British science".

All priority groups should get their jabs by mid-February, he said in a nationally televised address, insisting that "we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people". "If you look at the numbers, there's no question that we're going to have to take tougher measures and we'll be announcing those in due course", Johnson said on a visit to see health workers receiving the Oxford vaccine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has secured 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be kept in refrigerators rather than ultra-cold storage, making it easier to distribute than the Pfizer shot.

Five other hospital trusts, in London, Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire, will also start delivering the vaccine today ahead of the wider rollout.

French media broadcast charts comparing vaccine figures in various countries: In France, a nation of 67 million people, just 516 people were vaccinated in the first six days, according to the French Health Ministry.

Other Western countries have taken a longer and more cautious approach to rolling out vaccines, though Russian Federation and China have been inoculating their citizens for months with several different vaccines still undergoing late-stage trials.

Yesterday, India, the world's second-most populous country, authorised its first two Covid-19 vaccines - the Oxford-AstraZeneca one and another developed by an Indian company. AstraZeneca previously said a dosing regimen spaced up to 12 weeks apart was safe and effective in clinical trials: "The authorization recommends two doses administered with an interval of between 4 and 12 weeks".

Some 44 million people - more than three-quarters of England's population - had already been advised to stay at home and work remotely under a patchwork of regional restrictions. On Sunday, they reported 454 virus-related deaths to push the confirmed death toll total to more than 75,000, one of the worst in Europe.

Asked whether the government was considering imposing a new national lockdown, Hancock said: "We don't rule anything out".

The spread of the variant virus has also forced the government to change its approach to vaccination. Britain is now prioritizing getting a first dose of a vaccine to as many people as possible over giving second doses.

The European Union, meanwhile, defended its strategy amid growing criticism about the slow rollout of Covid-19 shots across the 27-nation bloc of 450 million inhabitants.

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