The new Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is being administered as part of the biggest immunisation programme in NHS history


In the next stage of the phased COVID-19 vaccine programme, the NHS will be the first health service in the world to deliver the newly approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine; hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to administer the vaccine in what marks ‘a major milestone’ in the fight against COVID-19.

The first Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations will be delivered at a small number of hospitals for the first few days, before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services later in the week.

The new Oxford vaccine will be easier to store and transport to care homes than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius until shortly before it is used.

The majority of care home residents are expected to be vaccinated by the end of January, and NHS staff are also being prioritised now that more vaccine is becoming available.

Many current and former NHS staff have applied to become vaccinators, with tens of thousands having already completed their online training.

’Biggest vaccination programme in NHS history’

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: ‘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.

‘The arrival of the Oxford jab, coupled with more Pfizer vaccine being made available, will allow us to protect many more people faster.’

A total of one million vaccinations were delivered by New Year’s Eve. Vaccination is now being rapidly accelerated as more supplies come onstream in the weeks ahead.

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