Moderna Covid vaccine to be rolled out in England today

13 April 2021, 06:34 | Updated: 14 April 2021, 05:09

The Moderna vaccine will begin being rolled out in England today
The Moderna vaccine will begin being rolled out in England today. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

People in England will begin receiving the first doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine from today, officials have confirmed.

It becomes the third drug to be rolled out in England, following the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

Medical director for NHS England Professor Stephen Powis said the move "marks another milestone" in the country's Covid-19 vaccination programme.

It comes after ministers confirmed they had met their target of offering a jab to all the highest priority groups by mid-April, including everyone over the age of 50 or all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The next phase of the vaccine rollout is expected to begin this week, which will see healthy adults under the age of 50 receiving their first doses.

Britain has secured 17 million doses of Moderna's drug and it has already been rolled out in Wales and Scotland. People in Northern Ireland should begin receiving the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Read more: First dose of Moderna vaccine given in UK as carer Elle Taylor gets jab

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NHS England confirmed the jab will be delivered at more than 20 inoculation sites this week, including Reading's Madejski Stadium and the Sheffield Arena. As supply increases, more sites will be able to deliver the jab vaccine.

Prof Powis said: "The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination programme.

"We now have a third jab in our armoury and NHS staff will be using it at more than 20 sites from this week, with more coming online as supplies expand.

"England's vaccination programme is our hope at the end of a year like no other, so please do come forward and get your jab when you're invited.

"It is safe, quick and effective - it will protect you and your loved ones."

Read more: First UK doses of Moderna jab administered in Wales

Explained: Moderna vaccine - Everything we know so far

A 24-year-old carer from Wales became the first person in the UK to receive the jab last week.

Elle Taylor, from Ammanford, got the jab at the West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen on 7 April.

Since the start of the UK's vaccine rollout, more than 32 million people have received their first dose of a vaccine, while 7.6 million have received their follow-up jab. However, the number of first doses being administered has slowed throughout April due to limitations in supply.

In England, roughly 94 per cent of people aged 50 and over are likely to have had their first Covid jab, while around 92 per cent of those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable have had their first jab.

Officials have said that the offer of a jab is "evergreen" and people who are yet to receive their first vaccine and are eligible to do so are still being encouraged to book into their local vaccination site.

Phase two of the programme will see the vaccine offered to younger healthy adults, most likely starting with those aged 40 to 49.

However, regulators in the UK have recommended that people aged 18 to 29 should be offered alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying there was a possible link between the jab and "extremely rare" blood clots.

This means that they could be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab.

Public Health England released operational details about the Moderna's vaccine on Monday, including information on the dose, the interval between a first and second jab, the storage temperature and whether people who receive the jab will need to be observed afterwards.

It needs to be stored at -25C to -15C and once it has been thawed it can be stored at 2C to 8C for up to 30 days.

The minimum interval between a first and second dose of the Moderna vaccine is 28 days.

Patients who receive the drug will need to wait at the vaccination centre and be observed for a period of 15 minutes after they are given it.