Today the UK was the first country to start mass vaccination with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The vaccine is a collaboration between the company and the University of Oxford.
The first to get the vaccine was 82-year-old dialysis patient Brian Pinker. The vaccine was received at Oxford University Hospital, a few hundred meters from the laboratory where it was developed.
“I am very happy to receive the vaccine today, and I am proud that it was developed in Oxford,” Pinker said.
The UK approved the vaccine five days ago.
Cheaper and easier to store
AstraZeneca vaccine is inexpensive and easy to dispense – it can be stored at fridge temperatures between two and eight degrees. In comparison, the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine should be stored at -70 degrees.
A shot of a vaccine costs just over 2 pounds, which equates to 2.20 euros.
This is a success for British science. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News from the start, we realized that a vaccine was the only way out.
The European Union is lagging behind
The UK began vaccinating the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine in December, after being approved as the first country in the West.
The UK has so far vaccinated more than 1 million people. This is more than what has been vaccinated in the European Union as a whole.
The European Union has approved 300 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 200 million doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine and 80 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
The UK has withheld 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Vaccination in European Union member states has started slowly, and so far only the European Union has approved the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine.
The United States and Canada approved a vaccine from the US manufacturer Moderna before Christmas, and the European Union is expected to approve it this week.
Sources: Reuters, Agence France-Presse
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