Amid the new coronavirus mutation in the United Kingdom, the country has decided to speed up its COVID-19 vaccine distribution process, with the first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine ready for distribution starting this Monday, January 4, 2021.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
According to the BBC, Oxford and AstraZeneca have more than half a million doses ready for distribution, with more coming soon.
Nevertheless, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the public that tougher rules will likely be implemented in the meantime to help curb the growing cases of infections in the country, even with COVID-19 distributions and jabs continue to take place.
In a report by ABC News, the PM Johnson has issued a new national lockdown that will be effective until mid-February due to the new variant of the coronavirus that spreads faster.
The new variant was initially discovered in the UK.
"As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic," Prime Minister Johnson said during a televised speech.
A 'Pivotal Moment'
Six hospital trusts located in London, Oxford, Lancashire, Sussex, and Warwickshire will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccines starting Monday, with 530,000 doses available.
More doses will be available later this week and will be distributed to GP-led services as well as care homes across the country, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), following the vaccine protocol that medical frontliners and the elderly are to be prioritized.
"This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this awful virus and I hope it provides renewed hope to everybody that the end of this pandemic is in sight," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
The first man in the UK to receive the AstraZeneca jab is 82-year-old Brian Pinker, a dialysis patient at the Oxford Churchill Hospital.
The prime minister is expecting "tens of millions" of Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs by April.
He also said that he believes this first week of distributing the coronavirus vaccine would be the hardest they will face, but that it will be the last phase of the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
New National Lockdown in England
However, Hancock urged the public to remain vigilant and follow social distancing rules to help keep the cases down and to help protect our loved ones.
Based on the report, over 50,000 new cases have been reported in the country this Sunday, January 3, for the sixth day in a row.
By Monday, 26,626 patients are currently confined in hospitals in England due to COVID-19, increasing 30% from the number of patients a week ago and 40% above the highest peak of the virus during its first wave in Spring 2020.
Besides England, Scotland has also imposed a national lockdown.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of the country, announced the lockdown early this Tuesday, January 5, 2021, which will last until the end of January.
In her speech, Sturgeon said that she is "more concerned" about the current situation of the country and the rest of the world is facing compared to "any time since March last year."
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Written by: Nhx Tingson