Posted: Wed 8th Dec 2021

UK marks one year since deploying world’s first COVID-19 vaccine

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Dec 8th, 2021

The UK administered the first COVID-19 vaccine in the world, outside of clinical trials, one year ago today.

On 8 December 2020, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan received a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry, administered by Matron May Parsons.

Almost 120 million doses have been administered across the UK in a year, saving countless lives and helping stop the NHS from being overwhelmed.

In light of the new Omicron variant and following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the booster programme has been expanded across the UK to all adults over 18 and all eligible people will be offered a top-up jab by the end of January, as well as halving the minimum gap between second doses and boosters.

The first real-world study on the effectiveness of booster vaccines against the dominant Delta variant by the UK Health Security Agency shows top-up jabs boost protection back up to over 90% against symptomatic COVID-19 in adults aged over 50 two weeks after being vaccinated.

As shown in the COV-Boost study, the booster vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, increase the immune response substantially, which makes it more likely that protection will be maintained against Omicron. The best thing anyone can do given the new variant, is to get a booster.

People who have had their booster vaccine by 11 December will likely have very high protection against COVID-19 by Christmas Day.

NHS Wales has already started to ramp up the booster programme and is currently administering more than 19,000 vaccinations a day.

Over the coming weeks, they aim to give more than 200,000 vaccines a week.

Health boards will do this by providing more vaccination centres in easy-to-access locations, including walk-in and drive-through clinics with longer opening hours.

GPs and community pharmacies will continue to deliver the vaccine and local government, fire services and students will provide other support to clinics. We have also requested assistance from the military.

Over the last year, the vaccination programme has involved;

  • 58 vaccination centres and 46 hospitals
  • More than 400 pharmacies and GPs
  • 92 military personnel
  • 96 mobile vaccination units
  • 5 million vaccines administered

Health Minister Eluned Morgan will say:

“The development and the roll-out of these vaccines has been a truly remarkable achievement.”

“Thanks to an unprecedented global effort, we have several successful, effective and safe vaccines and have reached the vast majority of our population.”

“However, the vaccines become less effective over time so it’s really important that people come forward to have a booster when invited to extend their protection.”

“Millions of people have accepted the vaccine, it has saved lives and helped prevent serious illness in tens of thousands of people.”

“I want to place on record my thanks to everyone involved in the vaccination programme in Wales for their hard work over the last year and for their help in the coming weeks.”

People will continue to be called in priority order of age and vulnerability.

The Health Minister added:

“Please wait until you are invited for your booster and prioritise your appointment over everything else to support the hard-working staff and volunteers at our vaccination centres, who will be spending a second festive period helping to keep Wales safe.”

“With high levels of the Delta variant in the community and the emergence of the Omicron variant, you can continue to disrupt the transmission of the virus by wearing a face covering in indoor public places, getting tested, self-isolating when positive and getting vaccinated.”

 

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