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Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine given to first UK patient
4 January 2021, 08:11 | Updated: 4 January 2021, 10:30
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been given to the first UK patient, NHS England has said.
Brian Pinker, 82, has become the first person in the UK outside of trials to receive the new Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at Oxford University Hospital.
The retired maintenance manager, a dialysis patient who describes himself as Oxford born and bred, said the jab would allow him to be free to celebrate his wedding anniversary with his wife later this year.
"I am so pleased to be getting the Covid vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford," the 82-year-old said.
"The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I can now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year."
Mr Pinker, who received the shot at around 7:30am from nurse Sam Foster, added that the vaccine will give him peace of mind as he continues to receive dialysis treatment.
Ms Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "It was a real privilege to be able to deliver the first Oxford vaccine at the Churchill Hospital here in Oxford, just a few hundred metres from where it was developed.
"We look forward to vaccinating many more patients and health and care staff with the Oxford vaccine in the coming weeks which will make a huge difference to people living in the communities we serve and the staff who care for them in our hospitals."
Trevor Cowlett, an 88-year-old music teacher and father-of-three, and Professor Andrew Pollard, a paediatrician working at the Oxford hospital, were also among the first people to receive the inoculation.
Speaking on LBC as Mr Pinker received the dose, Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave his instant reaction to the news.
"It's brought an enormous smile to my face," he told Nick Ferrari.
"We've been working on this vaccine for almost a year now and to be the first in the world to get this... British science with British industrial might of AstraZeneca behind it, to get that into peoples' arms this morning is so important.
"The reason why it matters to me and everybody listening is because this is our way out. These vaccines are the route back to a normal life that we all want to enjoy."
Hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to open this week, joining the 700 which are already in operation, to administer the first 500,000 doses of the new drug.
The initial batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered in Oxford and five other hospital trusts - two in London, and others in Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire - to allow for monitoring before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GPs later this week.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: "The NHS' biggest vaccination programme in history is off to a strong start, thanks to the tremendous efforts of NHS staff who have already delivered more than one million jabs.
"Throughout the pandemic, their response has been phenomenal.
"From introducing world-leading treatments for coronavirus which have saved patients' lives, as well as delivering the very first Covid-19 vaccines outside of a trial in a landmark moment in history, and now rolling out the new Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, chalking up another world first that will protect thousands more over the coming weeks."
The Oxford-AstraZeneca drug is easier to transport and store than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs cold storage of around minus 70C.
It is also easier to distribute to care homes and other locations across the UK because it can be stored at fridge temperatures, between two and eight degrees.