The Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine roll out has begun with more than half a million doses immediately available and tens of millions expected to be delivered in the coming weeks.

It will be delivered at hospitals for the first few days, as is standard practice, before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes later in the week.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that more than 730 vaccination sites have already been established across the UK and hundreds more are opening this week to take the total to over 1,000.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, between two to eight degrees, making it easier to distribute to care homes and other locations across the UK. The vaccines will be deployed through:

  • hospital hubs for NHS and care staff and older patients to get vaccinated
  • local community services with local teams and GPs already signing up to take part in the programme
  • vaccination centres across the country, ensuring people can access a vaccine regardless of where they live.

Gap between the first and second dose of vaccines will be delayed

GPs and local vaccination services have been asked to ensure every care home resident in their local area is vaccinated by the end of January.

More than a million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The MHRA, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the 4 UK chief medical officers agreed to delay the gap between the first and second dose of vaccines to protect the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

In line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.