Posted: 08.01.21 at 13:28 by Philippa Davies
The new Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has arrived in Devon and is being given to the first patients in the county today (Friday, January 8).
It was delivered to some of the GP-led vaccination centres yesterday, with others due to receive it in the next few days.
Priority groups including care home residents are first in line for the vaccine, which doesn’t need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is easier to transport.
This makes it easier for the NHS to take it to people in care homes or those who are housebound and cannot travel to a vaccination centre.
Thousands of doses are expected to be administered in the coming days and weeks.
Meanwhile deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine are also continuing, and some of these jabs are also being used in care homes. GPs have been issued with smaller packs which can be taken to care homes more easily.
Darryn Allcorn, Devon’s lead chief nurse, said: “The arrival of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in Devon will help us ramp up the programme and offer this potentially life-saving vaccination to more people who need it.
“Everyone can play their part in bringing the pandemic to an end, and right now we cannot afford to lower our guard – please follow the Government rules on staying at home and ‘Hands Face Space’. Act as if you have Covid, even after you've been vaccinated.”
Patients from the Sid Valley GP practice are receiving their vaccinations at a special centre set up at Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre.
All four main hospitals, in Exeter, Torbay, Plymouth and North Devon, are giving the jab to priority groups.
More large-scale vaccination centres serving wide areas are being planned, and the NHS will soon be announcing details of those in Devon.
Devon County Council's Cabinet Member with responsible for adult health and social care, Andrew Leadbetter, 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.”
Patients are being asked not to contact their local hospital GP practice to ask when they will receive their jab – they will be contacted as soon as their turn is due.