Cornwall has begun its rollout of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Both vaccines are now being used across Cornwall making it easier to protect care home residents and other vulnerable people against Covid-19.
The new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is being rolled out across primary care network-led GP surgeries as part of phased plans.
Mount Hawke, Penzance, Redruth, Helston and Pensilva, are among the first to offer the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and there will be more primary care-led networks offering the vaccine in coming weeks.
The vaccine has been trialled at selected hospitals for surveillance purposes before being sent out to hundreds of 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 approval of a second vaccine will enable the NHS to vaccinate more people, especially to people in care homes, who often can’t travel or those who live in our remote communities.
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 also be used in care homes.
Clovelly House Care Home in Newquay will be among the first to see its residents receive the Oxford vaccine today (Jan 8).
Clovelly House manager, Laura Westaway, said: “We’re delighted that our residents are among the first to receive the Oxford vaccine. It feels like a big step back onto the path of normality.
“To be part of the rollout means more than words can describe. We have been doing everything that we can to protect our residents, their loved ones and our staff but receiving the vaccine is really important in preventing people from becoming poorly. Our residents and staff both have been given a real sense of hope with the news of the vaccine.”
Dr Iain Chorlton, GP and NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We now have more vaccine which means more people can have a vaccine and ultimately help more people return to sense of normality.
“GP practices are working together as primary care networks to deliver the vaccine from a number of sites with more becoming available in the coming weeks. This way of working means that we can continue to offer primary care services from our surgeries.
“GP practices will be contacting people according to the advised priority groups, you do not need to do anything.”
However, with the large increase in cases hospitals are seeing and the emergence of a new variant of the virus also shows that we cannot let our guard down now, and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow all the same guidance as everyone else to help protect others.