THE Moderna jab is set to be rolled out in England from Monday – and could be reserved for under-30s.
It comes after the UK’s medicine regulator today recommended offering 18-29 years olds an alternative jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine amid blood clot links.
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The Moderna jab is set to be rolled out in England from Monday, days after it was made available in WalesCredit: PA
Ellie Taylor, of Wales, was the first in the world to have the Moderna shotCredit: PA
Meanwhile, a further 45 people have died with Covid in the UK
Government health advisers today said they believe that the UK’s third vaccine will start being used in England from April 12.
But experts are rethinking the use of the AstraZeneca jab for under 30s amid fears it can lead to rare blood clots in the brain.
During a press conference, it was revealed young people in the UK will be offered a different vaccine.
However, from Monday, it’s hoped there’ll be the option to use Moderna for the young instead.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said: “This is a change in clinical advice for under 30s.
“It will require some changes in the way NHS operationalises the vaccines roll-out programme, but I’ve spoken to colleagues in the NHS in some detail and am assured, because of our supply situation in relation to alternative vaccines, the effect on timing of overall programme should be zero or negligible.
“That, of course, is contingent upon getting the supplies we expect to get of alternative vaccines, Pfizer, which is in use now, and Moderna, that we hope to bring into deployment from mid-April.”
He acknowledged there “might be a small delay sometimes, there might be a greater distance people must travel”.
It comes as:
Unpaid carer Elle Taylor, 24, who lives in Wales, was the first in the world outside of a trial to receive the vaccine this morning.
The UK is committed to buying 17million doses of Moderna, which is given – like Pfizer and AstraZeneca – in two doses several weeks apart.
Trials showed the jab was 95 per cent effective against Covid disease.
Prof Van-Tam sought to reassure Brits this afternoon.
He called the change in who is administered the jab a “course correction”.
“If you could have said to me back in March 2020, and predicted how far we would have come so far with vaccination programme, I’m not sure I would have believed we’d have got as far as we have,” he said.
“The UK’s vaccination programme has been the most enormous success.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was delighted its UK rollout was starting – and it’s hoped the vaccine will lend a much-needed boost to the nation’s sluggish deployment over the Easter weekend.
“The UK government has secured vaccines on behalf of the entire nation and the vaccination programme has shown our country working together at its best,” he said.
There are concerns it could hit Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown
But on a trip to Cornwall, the PM says he plans to proceed with the route out of tough restrictionsCredit: Reuters
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the first batch of Moderna vaccines had arrived in the country on Monday and will be delivered over the coming months.
It has not been confirmed when the rollout of Moderna will begin in Northern Ireland.
The good news comes after a blow to the UK’s hugely successful vaccination programme today when it was announced that AstraZeneca won’t be used in younger patients.
It follows reports that, of the millions given the jab in the UK, 79 had gone on to have blood clots.
Of those patients, 19 have since died.
There are similar reports from Europe, and political leaders have repeatedly paused and reinstated the use of the vaccine amid a badly-bungled jabs roll-out.
The vaccine, which is created at cost to AstraZeneca, is the workhorse of the UK’s roll-out.
But some European countries have restricted the vaccine use in younger people following reports of low platelet counts and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain.
Boris Johnson today insisted the jab is safe – and urged Brits to keep getting their vaccines when they’re called up.
Speaking during a visit to Cornwall, he said the shot is “safe” but that “the crucial thing for everybody is to listen to what the scientists, the medical experts have to say”.
And he also insisted that his roadmap out of lockdown is still on track.
What vaccines does the UK have?
- Oxford and AstraZeneca: 100 million doses ordered – currently only recommended for over-30s only
- BioNTech and Pfizer: 40 million doses ordered – currently being given to anyone eligible
- Moderna: 17 million doses ordered – currently being given to anyone eligible in Wales
On the way:
- Janssen: 30 million doses ordered – use expected from July
- Valneva: 100 million doses ordered
- Novavax: 60 million doses ordered
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur: 60 million doses ordered