New Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine out to GPs across England from today

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The new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will be rolled out to General Practice led services today, making it easier to protect care home residents and other vulnerable people against Covid-19, health officials said.

GP surgeries in England are to begin administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as the UK faces a race to protect the population after the daily reported death toll topped 1,000.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved, the Oxford vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is much easier to move, making it easier to use in care homes and to vaccinate the housebound.

Boris Johnson, who was given the overwhelming backing of MPs for the latest lockdown, warned that there was now a race between the spread of the virus and the delivery of vaccines to the most vulnerable.

Seven mass vaccination centres will open next week in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi admitted the target of vaccinating around 14 million people in the highest priority groups – including the elderly, those with clinical needs, care home residents and staff as well as frontline NHS workers – by February 15 was “stretching”.

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