Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout has begun in the UK, where patients in Wales have been the first to receive a dose.
Supplies arrived in Wales on Tuesday, with 5,000 doses having been delivered to vaccination centres across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The first doses of the vaccine are being administered at the West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen today.
The first person to receive the Moderna jab in the UK was 24-year-old Elle Taylor, who is an unpaid carer for her grandmother.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the rollout “significantly adds to our defences in the face of coronavirus” and will help to protect the country’s most vulnerable.
He commented: “Every vaccine given to someone in Wales is a small victory against the virus and we would encourage everyone to go for their vaccine when invited.
“I want to thank all those who have been working tirelessly to deliver the vaccine across Wales and help us meet our second milestone of offering a vaccine to all phase one priority groups. I also want to thank the 1.5 million people in Wales that have already come forward for their vaccine and done their bit in this national effort.”
The vaccine, administered in two doses with an interval of four to 12 weeks, is the third to be approved for use against coronavirus in the UK. Authorisation came after primary efficacy analysis last year found the jab to be 94.1% effective against Covid-19.
The UK has purchased 17 million doses of the American company’s vaccine – enough to fully vaccinate 8.5 million people.
Hywel Dda University Health Board director of public health Ros Jervis said: “We’re delighted to be able to use the Moderna vaccine for deployment across west Wales. We will be using this new vaccine, alongside Oxford-AstraZeneca, to continue the vaccine roll out to our communities in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
“We are incredibly lucky to have a third vaccine in Wales, with a long shelf life and the ability to be easily transported, to help deliver the vaccination programme to small clinics across our rural communities.”
With over 31 million people in the UK having received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine so far, the nation is well on its way to achieving the government’s goal of 32 million vaccinated by the end of April.