Where is the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine made?

THE coronavirus vaccine made by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been hailed as a triumph for British science. 

Brits started receiving the “game-changing” jab on January 4 – with millions more vaccinations expected in the first half of 2021. 

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Brian Pinker, 82, became the first patient to receive the jab at Oxford University Hospital at 7.30am on January 4.

Experts have hailed the Oxford vaccine as a route out of the pandemic – we take a closer look at the potentially revolutionary jab. 

Where is the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine made?

The Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine is mainly being produced in the UK, though other sites across Europe are being used to manufacture the first doses of the jab.

Ian McCubbin, manufacturing lead for the UK's Vaccine Taskforce, said the first batches would be made in Europe.

He said: "The initial supply – and it's a little bit of a quirk of the programme – actually comes from the Netherlands and Germany."

But he confirmed that, once that is supplied, the supply chain will be completely UK-based.

The jab takes a different approach to the Pfizer vaccine, and is made from a weakened version of the adenovirus (the common cold) from chimpanzees. 

After being injected into a patient, the vaccine prompts the immune system to develop antibodies which fight Covid-19. 

Who will get the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine first?

The Oxford jab is the second vaccine to be rolled out in the UK, after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was first given to 91-year-old Margaret Keenan on December 8, 2020.

Six hospital trusts – in Oxford, London, Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire – are already administering the jab with 530,000 doses ready for use. 

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, these doses will be sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes through the rest of January.

The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunology – the JCVI – has drawn up a list of nine priority groups who will receive the vaccine first.

The first group to be vaccinated is the over 80s and care home residents, as well as front-line health and care staff. 

It will then be rolled out to other groups including young adults with underlying health conditions and over-50s.

Brits cannot choose which vaccine they will receive. 

How many vaccines will I need?

The Medicine and Health Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved a two-dose regimen for the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine.

Patients will receive their second dose four to twelve weeks after the first, as the government shifts its focus to giving Brits the first dose urgently.

We do not yet know how long protection from the vaccines will last.

Brits may need to go for annual vaccinations, as with the flu, but there is no further evidence yet on the duration of immunity. 

How many doses of the vaccine do we have? 

Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the new vaccine, enough for 50 million people.

It can be stored in a fridge making it easier to get into care homes and GP surgeries.

Along with the 40 million doses of the Pfizer treatment, Britain will have enough to protect the entire population.

Boris Johnson has pledged to vaccinate tens of millions within three months. 

And  five thousand troops will also begin “Operation Freedom” — with 530,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs ready to roll out in the war on coronavirus.

 How effective is the vaccine?

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been shown to be completely safe, and can provoke an immune response in people of all ages, including the elderly.

Participants in clinical trials were given different dosing regimens, with some receiving two full doses and others a half dose followed by a full dose. 

Two full doses of the jab were found to be 62 per cent effective. 

While this is lower than the 92 per cent efficacy reported by Pfizer, it is still far above the best flu jab, which is around 50 percent effective.

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