The NHS on the Isle of Wight has started to vaccinate people with the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine. The first delivery of the second vaccine to be approved for use was received on Friday (Jan 8) and vaccinations started over the weekend.
Dot Cotton, aged 86, who used to work in Leonard’s shoe shop in Newport, and lives in Waxham House care home, in Ryde, was among the first to receive the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccination.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers to patients. It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain ahead of use.
In comparison, the Oxford Astrazeneca is easier to transport and store, which will help scale up the vaccination programme on the Island. Like the Pfizer doses, the vaccination is delivered in the upper arm and people will be required to have a second dose up to 12 weeks after their first in order to achieve maximum immunity.
Dr Michele Legg, GP and clinical chair of NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, was one of the healthcare workers vaccinating over the weekend. She said: “This is the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS and I am so proud of how my colleagues and those who work in partner organisations have been able to come together and set up clinics and begin delivering the jabs so quickly.
“As the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccination is so much easier to store and transport, it means we are able to go into care homes and provide the vaccine to care home workers and residents in one go.
“This saves the need for them to have to come to us, which means they continue to remain safe in their homes.”