LONDON (AP) – Britain on Monday took another huge step in the fight against covid-19, expanding its vaccination program by giving the world its first shot at a vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient receiving a new vaccine shot administered by a chief nurse at Oxford University Hospital. Pinker said he is very happy and can now look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year. “
Since December 8, Britain’s National Health Service has been using a vaccine developed by Pfizer and the German company Bioentech to inoculate health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. The Ox Xford-AstraZeneca vaccine accelerates the arsenal and is inexpensive and easy to use because it does not require the super-cold storage required by the Pfizer vaccine.
The UK Xford-AstraZeneca vaccine was given to very few hospitals in the UK for the first few days so that authorities could monitor for any adverse reactions. Hundreds of new vaccination sites will be launched this week in both hospitals and local doctors’ offices, NHS England said.
U.S. And in a shift from ongoing practice elsewhere, Britain now plans to give people a second dose of both vaccines within 12 weeks of the first shot instead of 21 days to speed up vaccinations.
The government’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tame, said Sunday that the decision was “appropriate for the whole country.”
The UK is in the midst of an acute epidemic, recording more than 50,000 new coronavirus infections a day in the last six days. On Sunday, it reported a further 54,990 cases and 454 more virus-related deaths, bringing its total confirmed epidemic deaths to 75,024, the worst in Europe.
British Prime Minister Boris Jones warned on Sunday that more severe lockdown sanctions are likely in England in the coming weeks as the country is embroiled in a coronavirus variant, which has pushed infection rates to their highest levels.
Johnson, however, insisted he had “no doubt” that the schools were safe and urged parents to send them back to classrooms on Monday in areas of England where schools are planned to reopen. Unions representing teachers have called on schools to turn to remote learning for at least two weeks. More because of the variant, which officials have said is 70% more contagious.
“We have made a full compromise to do what it takes to keep the virus under control, which could include drastic measures in the coming weeks,” Johnson told the BBC.
Johnson acknowledged that a complete ban on school closures, curfews and domestic mixing could be on the agenda of the most stressful areas.
London and south-east England are facing high levels of new infections and there is speculation that restrictions will have to be tightened. There are more than 1,000 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in some areas in the region.
Johnson’s Conservative government is using a tiered coronavirus prevention system to prevent the spread of the virus. Much of England is already at the top 4 levels, including closing non-essential shops, gyms and leisure centers and going home for instruction.
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