Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Q&A: How effective is it, and how is it different to the Pfizer vaccine? – The Telegraph

Where is it being manufactured?

While there are some doses coming from Europe in the very first instance, the majority will be provided from the UK supply chain.

Do you need two doses of the Oxford vaccine?

The MHRA has recommended the over 18s should receive two doses to be administered with an interval of between four and 12 weeks.

Can this vaccine help the elderly?

There have been concerns that a Covid-19 vaccine will not work as well on elderly people, much like the annual flu jab.

However, data from the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial suggests there have been “similar” immune responses among younger and older adults.

The results show that the vaccine is better tolerated in older people compared with younger adults, and produces a similar immune response in old and young adults.

Brian Pinker was the first person to be administered with the vaccine. The 82 year old dialysis patient from Oxford stated that he is “so pleased to be getting the Covid vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford.” 

Can pregnant women have the vaccine?

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers have now been given the green light to take either the Oxford and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines following an appropriate case-by-case risk evaluation with their healthcare practitioner.

This is a reversal of previous advice which was put in place as precautionary measure.

Traditionally pregnant women are not included in clinical trials, but following a review the MHRA are recommending pregnant women be given the opportunity to receive the vaccine as as there is no evidence they would be at risk.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said: “Our advice to date has been that given that in initial lack of evidence on a precautionary basis, use of a vaccine wasn’t recommended in pregnancy and women with breastfeeding should not be given the vaccine.

“But now that we have reviewed further data that has become available, the Commission on Human medicines has advised that the vaccine can be considered for use in pregnancy when the potential benefits outweigh the risks following an individual discussion with every woman.”

Can people with allergies have the vaccine?

The roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine was halted for those who are known to suffer from severe allergic reactions following a handful of adverse events in the initial distribution of the vaccine. 

There were some concerns that this would also apply to the Oxford jab. 

However, following a review, the UK regulatory body has recommended both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccine are safe to administer to those with food or medicine allergies. 

Only those who have a known history of reacting to vaccines in the past should proceed with caution.

Sir Munir Pirmohamed, clinical pharmacologist and geneticist, and chairman of Commission on Human Medicine Expert Working Group, said. “We’ve come to the recommendation people with a known history of reacting to any specific ingredients of vaccine should not have it. But people with allergies to other medicines or food can have the vaccine.”

Dr June Raine added that “at least 800,000 in the UK, probably a million and a half in the US” have already received the Pfizer vaccine. 

There has been “no additional concerns and this gives us further assurance that the risk of anaphylaxis can be managed through standard clinical guidance and an observation period following vaccination of at least 15 minutes.”

When will roll-out of the Oxford vaccine start?

The Oxford vaccine started to be rolled out across the country on Jan 4.

The Government is aiming for two million people to receive their first dose of either the Oxford vaccine or the Pfizer jab within a fortnight as part of a major ramping up of the inoculation programme.

The Oxford jab will be administered at six hospitals for the first few days for surveillance purposes before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services to be rolled out.

Hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to be up and running in the first week of January as the NHS ramps up its coronavirus immunisation programme with the newly-approved jab.

As many as one million doses of the vaccine will be available for roll out across the UK from Jan 4, with vulnerable groups already identified as the priority for immunisation.

An army of more than 10,000 medics and volunteers has been recruited by the NHS to help deliver the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine

Mr Johnson has pledged that the NHS is committed to offering a vaccination to everyone in the top four priority groups by Feb 15.

To help with meeting this target there are already 595 GP-led sites providing vaccines with a further 180 coming on stream later this week, he said. There are also 107 hospital sites with a further 100 later this week. 

Furthermore, on Jan 7, The Ministry of Defence revealed it has prepared a “reserve” taskforce of 1,500 members of the Armed Forces who are ready to work at jab centres, should the vaccinators fall ill, and extra staff are required. 

The plan comes after the NHS made a formal request to the Civil Authority (Maca) convention via the Military Aid, for 133 members army personnel to take part in the vaccination programme. The workers began their training on Jan 4, and will start administering vaccines from Jan 11. 

Seven vaccination centres will also be opening in places such as sports stadiums and exhibition centres, including Derby Arena, which opened as a vaccination centre on Jan 7. 

On Jan 8, NHS England said letters inviting the over-80s to attend mass vaccination centres were starting to land on doormats.

The first 130,000 invitations asking the elderly to sign up for a jab at the centres, which open this week, were due to arrive over this weekend, with more than 500,000 to follow over the next seven days.

The letters have been sent to people aged 80 or older who live between a 30 to 45-minute drive from one of the new regional centres, with information about how they can book a slot either over the phone or via an online national booking service.

The Telegraph also understands the Prime Minister wants to have established 50 mass vaccination centres across England by mid-February to help drive the mass vaccination programme.

Ministers hope that the rapid expansion of these regional centres will deliver two million jabs a week by the beginning of next month.

Read more: The priority list for the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines – and how they will be rolled out

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