Boris Johnson reveals he will receive AstraZeneca vaccine
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The AstraZeneca vaccine has been the subject of concerns across the globe in recent weeks, with reports of blood clots triggering suspensions of the vaccine in several countries. However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has now declared the vaccine “safe and effective” with Italy announcing it will resume using the jab from as soon as Friday.
Speaking during a press conference today, Emer Cooke, EMA executive director said a situation such as the AstraZeneca blood clot one was not unexpected.
She said “when you vaccinate millions of people” such reports of rare events will happen.
The EMA said it could not “rule out definitively” a link between “a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious blood clotting disorders” and the vaccine, though investigations were ongoing.
With vaccinations the key to ending lockdown and returning to normality, the news of AstraZeneca’s effectiveness puts vaccination efforts back on track.
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Across the UK there are currently two vaccines in circulation, the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Current data shows a staggering 25.7 million people have been vaccinated across the UK, with over-50s now told to book in their jab.
In total 1.8 million Britons have now received their second dose, meaning they are protected against COVID-19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during Thursday’s Downing Street press conference he would be getting the AstraZeneca jab on Friday.
In a plea to Brits, the PM reiterated the EMA’s ruling on the safety of the vaccine and urged them to book an appointment as soon as they were eligible.
Mr Johnson added: “We also saw the evidence yesterday from Public Health England (PHE) that a single dose of either vaccine provides 60 percent protection against getting Covid and reduces the chances of hospitalisation by 80 percent, and the risk of death by 85 percent.
“So, the Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe – the thing that isn’t safe is catching Covid, which is why it is so important we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.
“As it happens, I’m getting mine tomorrow and the centre where I’m getting jabbed is currently using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for those receiving their first dose, and that is the one that I’ll be having.”
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Where is the AstraZeneca vaccine made in the UK?
When the UK secured doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, it was revealed a high percentage of the doses will be created in the UK.
Manufacturing lead for the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, Ian McCubbin said the “vast majority” of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will be manufactured in the UK.
The vaccine is being created at production sites in Oxford and Keele as well as parts of the process being completed in Wrexham.
AstraZeneca also has some sites in Europe, with production taking place in both Germany and the Netherlands.
The jab is also being made in India, with millions of supplies due to come to the UK delayed Mr Johnson said today.
How does the AstraZeneca vaccine work?
The AstraZeneca vaccine was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech.
The AstraZeneca website explains the vaccine uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector, which is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus).
This causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.
After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) if it later infects the body.
Ann Taylor, Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca, said: “Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population.
“The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety.”
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