UK begins rollout of Moderna vax against COVID-19 in Wales
London: The UK on Wednesday began the rollout of the Moderna vaccine to protect against COVID-19, the third two-dose vaccine now being administered by the National Health Service (NHS) alongside the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs.
Patients in Carmarthenshire in Wales are the first cohort to begin receiving the new vaccine, which has been developed by the American biotech firm Moderna and was approved for use in the UK in January this year.
The UK government said it has ordered 17 million doses of the vaccine, with the first doses being received this week and administered at Carmarthen's Glangwili Hospital in west Wales from Wednesday.
I'm delighted we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine in west Wales today. 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, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Three out of every five people across the whole United Kingdom have received at least one dose, and today we start with the third approved vaccine. Wherever you live, when you get the call, get the jab, he said.
The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose jab given at an interval of between four and 12 weeks. Like the Pfizer jab, it is an RNA vaccine and works by injecting part of the virus' genetic code into the body, where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens.
These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight Coronavirus. No actual virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine, meaning the rate at which it can be produced is accelerated. For storage, the Moderna vaccine requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping similar to a normal freezer.