New Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine being rolled out in Devon
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The new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been given to the first people in Devon, with thousands more doses expected to be administered in coming weeks.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved, the Oxford vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is much easier to move, making it easier for the NHS in Devon to vaccinate people in care homes and those who are housebound.
In Devon, the first batches of the Oxford vaccination have been received by some of county’s GP-led local vaccination centres yesterday and have been given to priority groups, including care home residents.
Deliveries of the Pfizer vaccination have continued, with thousands of doses also being given each day across the county.
Local vaccination services in Devon have recently been focussing on delivering vaccinations to care home residents and staff, who were set as the highest priority group by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The GP-led services have been issued with smaller packs of Pfizer jabs which can be used more easily in care homes.
Large-scale vaccination centres serving wide areas are also planned nationwide and more details will follow on arrangements in Devon when they are confirmed.
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Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council's cabinet member with responsibility for adult health and social care, said: “We welcome news that a second vaccine, Oxford AstraZeneca, is to be rolled out to Devon's care homes imminently.
“Care homes are working above and beyond in their intense efforts to ensure residents and staff are safe and cared for.
“This new vaccine has the advantage that it can be more easily deployed across Devon, to reach many of our most vulnerable residents and staff who support them.
“I am confident that through our extensive network of GPs and vaccination centres, we will quickly start to see priority groups given the vaccinations that we have all been waiting for.”
All four of the county’s main hospitals – Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Torbay Hospital in Torquay, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple – are giving vaccinations to priority groups.