Breaking News: UK inoculates first patient with Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

82-year-old Brian Pinker receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sam Foster at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

82-year-old Brian Pinker receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sam Foster at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

The UK inoculated the first patient in the world with the coronavirus vaccine from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Monday.

Brian Pinker, 82, was vaccinated in Oxford and said he was proud to receive the jab. Health secretary Matt Hancock said he was delighted by the rollout of the country’s second approved coronavirus vaccine which he said was a “testament to British science.” “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this awful virus and I hope it provides renewed hope to everybody that the end of this pandemic is in sight,” Hancock said in a statement. The country secured 100 million doses of the jab which is much cheaper and easier to store than Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine that the country began rolling out in December.

More than 500,000 doses will be available on Monday as the UK rushes to vaccinate the vulnerable against coronavirus. Hancock said that more than one million vaccines had been administered by the beginning of January and hopes to increase that number significantly in the coming month. It comes as the country has recorded 50,000 new daily cases for multiple days as a new, more transmissible variant of the virus spreads through the country, despite the vaccine rollout, the crisis in the country is continuing to worsen as infections rise. Opposition leader Keir Starmer has called for a national lockdown amid rising cases, something Hancock told Sky News the government is not ruling out. Some experts have criticized the UK strategy stating that they need to work better to bring down infections instead of relying on future vaccinations to solve the crisis.

The UK medicines regulator approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use on December 30, becoming the first country to give the go-ahead to the company’s vaccine. The UK has more than 730 vaccination centres and is looking to increase that number to more than 1,000. The Oxford vaccine is based on a harmless, weakened adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees. The vaccine was found to be up to 90% effective in clinical trials, AstraZeneca and Oxford said in November based on interim data from phase three trials.

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