The British government, which is preparing to apply doses to all adults by the end of July, said that Britain has offered everyone over fifty a first dose of vaccines against Covid-19 and began on Tuesday (13) vaccination with the Moderna vaccine.
Britain has had one of the fastest vaccine launches in the world, second only to Israel in terms of the percentage of its population that received at least one dose of the vaccine against Covid-19.
The British government said it had already provided at least one dose for priority groups 1 through 9, which includes all adults over 50, and social and health workers, ahead of the scheduled date for this Thursday (15).
“We will now proceed to complete the second basic doses and progress towards our goal of having a vaccine for all adults by the end of July,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Britain has slowed first doses to ensure people in high-priority groups get a second dose, although vaccine supplies were lower in April than in March.
In boosting the supply of vaccines for the first doses, the Moderna vaccine campaign began in England on Tuesday (13), after the first doses were distributed in Wales last week.
Moderna is already in use in the United States and other parts of Europe, and has become the third immune system in use in Britain, after AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech.
Moderna uses the same mRNA technology as the Pfizer vaccines, but it can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike its competing vaccine in the US, which must be preserved and shipped at extremely low temperatures.
Johnson’s office said the government was still on track to offer the injection to all adults by July 31.
The National Health Service (NHS) said Tuesday that people aged 45 and over can now make appointments to receive the vaccine against Covid-19.
The success of the vaccination campaign supported Johnson’s exit plan, which on Monday (12) saw all open-air shops and restaurants reopen in England, with some celebrating on the streets at night.
To give caution to optimism, the government announced that it will expand testing in the boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth, south London, to detect variant cases that were first found in South Africa.
There have been 74 confirmed and probable cases of a coronavirus variant known as B.1.351, in neighborhoods, and there are concerns that the vaccines may be less effective against it.
“The important thing to note is: If the South African alternative has really spread, and we will probably know in two to three weeks, you may need to take a break to reopen it a bit,” said James Naismith, a professor of structural engineering who taught Biology, University of Oxford and Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute for BBC Radio.
With more than 127,000 deaths, the UK has the fifth largest number of deaths in the world due to Covid-19.