The first Moderna jabs will be delivered in England today (Tuesday) as the NHS vaccination programme reaches another milestone.
More than 20 sites, including Reading’s Madejski Stadium and the Sheffield Arena, will initially use the newest vaccine, as the NHS continues to expand the vaccination programme.
For those aged 18-29 who are eligible for a jab, the Moderna vaccine provides another alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, in line with updated MHRA guidance last week.
More than 27 million people in England have now received their first jab, with more than 6.1 million second jabs also being given.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination programme.
“We now have a third jab in our armoury and NHS staff will be using it at more than 20 sites from this week, with more coming online as supplies expand.
“England’s vaccination programme is our hope at the end of a year like no other, so please do come forward and get your jab when you’re invited.
“It is safe, quick and effective – it will protect you and your loved ones.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines have already saved more than 10,000 lives and have had a real impact on Covid-19 infection rates and hospitalisations across the UK.
“From today the NHS in England will begin using the Moderna vaccine, following the start of the UK roll out in Wales last week. The vaccine has already been used widely in other countries and approved by our medicines regulator as it met the highest standards of safety and effectiveness.
“I encourage everyone who is eligible for a vaccine to book their appointments as soon as possible to ensure they are protected.”
Moderna can be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures, but should it need to be stored for longer it can last for six months at -20C.
Along with Pfizer, it will be used by the NHS for some of the appointments rearranged for under 30s who were due to receive the AstraZeneca jab.
During April the NHS is focusing on second doses, but appointments are still available for those in the initial cohorts who have not yet been protected.
People who had their first jab at a vaccination centre or pharmacy-led service should already have a date for their second while those jabbed by a GP will be called back.
Anyone aged 50 and over can still arrange their jab, as well as people who are clinically vulnerable or a health and care worker, who should contact their GP for an appointment.
The NHS is also inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text, with some GPs also calling unvaccinated patients personally to encourage uptake.
Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are delivering the life-saving jab at more than 1,600 sites ranging from cathedrals, mosques and temples to racecourses, sports stadiums, cinemas and museums, with 21 offering the Moderna jab this week.
The NHS made history when 90-year-old Maggie Keenan was the first recipient in the world outside a clinical trial of a Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on 8 December 2020.
Brian Pinker, 82, was the first person to be vaccinated with the new Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on 4 January 2021 by the NHS in Oxford, where the jab was created.