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UK launches first AstraZeneca vaccinations worldwide

The UK has launched the first AstraZeneca vaccinations worldwide. The vaccine is to be supplied to a limited number of hospitals for “surveillance purposes,” prior to its wider roll out in the coming weeks, according to NHS England.

As the country witnesses a sudden upsurge in the number of infections, the U.K. became the first country in the world to start rolling out AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine, following its approval for emergency authorization earlier this week.

According to NHS England, the vaccine will be distributed to a limited number of hospitals for surveillance purposes, said to be standard practice, before a broader distribution to hundreds of general practitioners later in the week. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that hundreds of vaccination centers are being operated across the U.K. to ensure that the new vaccine is widely distributed and also termed the country’s progress as a “pivotal moment in the campaign against the coronavirus,” while applauding the achievement.

The first Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was administered to Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient at Oxford University Hospital, according to NHS England. “The vaccine means everything to me,” said Pinker in a statement. “It’s the only way of getting back to a bit of normal life.”

The launching of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine program is being carried out amidst the rapid increase in the number of infections, prominently triggered by a mutant strain of the virus, which is speculated to have originated in the country. The U.K. Government had already procured 100 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, according to a report by BBC. 

Earlier this month, a study regarding the efficiency of the AstraZeneca vaccine revealed that it was up to 70% effective against the virus and was found to be safe for usage, but the data has been under investigation over dosing methods.

ARTICLE:  LIDIYA SHILU 

PHOTO CREDITS: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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