First doses of third Covid vaccine to be rolled out in UK today

A Covid vaccination being given in Lavenham

The Moderna vaccine is being rolled out in the UK from today (Wednesday, April 7). - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A third coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out in the UK today in what has been hailed as “another key milestone” in the fight against the disease. 

The Moderna vaccine will be administered at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen today, with the UK already having purchased 17 million doses of the jab – enough to vaccinate 8.5 million people. 

The news comes as investigations continue into a potential association between the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and a rare form of blood clot.

A trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine in children has temporarily been paused while the country's regulators investigate whether there is a link between those who have the vaccine and a rare form of blood clot, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).

The University of Oxford said no safety concerns have arisen from the children’s trial and Sage adviser Professor Calum Semple said the decision to pause had been made out of “exceptional caution”, as he urged people to continue accepting the jab.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are expected to announce findings of their assessments either today or tomorrow. 

The UK’s regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – is also investigating reports. 

Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said he was “delighted" we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine today, just days before the Government's next stage of easing restrictions comes into play on Monday, April 12. 

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"The UK government has secured vaccines on behalf of the entire nation and the vaccination programme has shown our country working together at its best," he added.

From Monday, April 12, shops, hairdressers, and pub beer gardens will reopen as planned, in what a Suffolk business leader has described as an "exciting time for us all".

The rollout of the Moderna vaccine is due to start in England "as soon as possible this month", according to the Department of Health and Social Care. 

It is expected to be given out around the third week of April. 

The Moderna vaccine joins the fight to combat the disease, alongside the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs.

According to the Government more than 31 million first doses of either jabs have been administered in the UK, up to April 5, while more than five million second doses have been given out.

A recent Suffolk survey showed that 84% of people are willing to have a Covid-19 vaccine - below the national level expected.

Mr Hancock urged people to not hesitate when being offered the jab, saying: "3 in 5 adults have now had the vaccine and it’s saving lives. When you get the call, get the jab."