Salisbury is preparing to ramp up it’s response to COVID-19 as a second vaccine has been approved.
This morning (30th December), the MHRA approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday as cases rise sharply.
Speaking this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the development as a ‘significant moment’ in the fight against the virus.
Preparations for a mass vaccination programme are also in full swing locally. The NHS has been advertising roles in relation to this locally.
Up until this point, Salisbury hasn’t had its own vaccination centre due to the logistical complexities of the Pfizer/BionTech jab, but the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is much easier to transport and store.
The new vaccine will lead to a significant increase in the rate of vaccination as it’s cheap and easy to mass-produce. It is also easy to transport and store as crucially, it can be stored in a standard fridge, unlike other vaccines. This means it will be much easier to get the Oxford vaccine to GP’s and to care homes.
The immunisation campaign will now shift to giving as many people as possible their first dose of vaccine. The aim will be to give as many vulnerable people some protection from Covid-19.
The decision is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:
“The priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible.
“Everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection.”