The new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is being rolled out to General Practice led vaccination services in Sussex today making it easier to protect care home residents and other vulnerable people against Covid-19.
The vaccine has been trialled at selected hospitals in the country for surveillance purposes, including the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, before being sent out to community-based local vaccination services.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved, the Oxford vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is much easier to move, making it easier to use in care homes and to vaccinate the housebound.
The rollout comes after the vaccine was approved for use outside of hospitals by the four Chief Medical Officers and NHS England’s Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis.
Care home residents cannot travel to hospital for a jab and Pfizer is difficult to get to hospitals so the decision will speed up the drive to vaccinate them.
Care home residents and staff were set as the highest priority group by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
In addition to the Oxford jab, local vaccination services are being issued with small packs of Pfizer jabs which can be used in care homes.
When the vaccine was first issued it had to be shipped in “pizza boxes” containing almost 1,000 doses, meaning that care homes could not be jabbed without wasting supplies.
In Sussex, six hospital hubs and 15 GP led vaccination services have gone live to date, with eight further GP led vaccination services going live over the next three days.
Next week, there are further GP led services in Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex.