The biggest vaccination program in the history of the United Kingdom is getting a major boost today with the initial use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

In connection to this, The Guardian came out with a report on how the said vaccine will be deployed in England. Probably, no one is getting it right away, or, today.

According to the said report, "any new vaccine will begin cautiously, although loud and fanfare around the arrival of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab."

The essentiality of this COVID-19 vaccine is that it is stored in a fridge at normal temperature and can be taken out and transported to care homes and all other places where it is needed.

Nevertheless, according to the National Health Service England, the initial doses will be administered at just a few hospitals "for surveillance purposes."

That is, the NHS said, just in case of any problems like allergy issue takes place when the agency began to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

They said that if someone is particularly allergic to any of the ingredients included in either of the vaccines, then they should not take the same.

Science Times - UK Adds Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine To Covid-19 Fight
(Photo : Gareth Fuller - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrive at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath on January 02, 2021 in West Sussex, United Kingdom. The UK has 530,000 doses available for roll-out from Monday.

Top Priorities to Receive the Vaccine

On top of the list of those who will receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are home care residents, as well as the staff taking care of them.

This has been challenging to do so far as the vaccine from Pfizer is not easy to store and transport due to the requirement to have it stored at 70 degrees Celsius in the long term.

This time, The Guardian reported, they can be the primary focus of the vaccine. GPs are now being offered around $13 for each care home resident. They can inject the vaccine by the end of this month.

Official numbers from NHS England, opposite to officials' pronouncements, present that roughly 750,000 people have vaccinated in England during the first three weeks since the Pfizer vaccine went online, of whom more than 520,000 were older than 80 years old.

Individuals aged above 80 years and NHS staff are the second group on the priority list. According to the ministers, roughly one million people have been given a vaccine.

Targeting 2 Million People to Vaccinate Each Week in the UK

Hopefully, health secretary Matt Hancock said, since at a rate of a quarter of a million individuals getting the vaccine every week in England, it would take the whole year to get through the most susceptible, basically all people older than 50 years old and those with underlying health conditions. Hancock added, he is targeting a "two million a week in the UK soon and rising."

There is a sufficiency of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for four million people. However, most of it does not come yet in vials in its finished form. Neither has it completely been batch-certified as necessitated under the provisional emergency authorization which the UK regulator gives. To date, only more than half-a-million doses are ready to go into the arms of people across the UK.

Reason for the Delay of the 2nd Dose

The main objective is to decrease the numbers of people susceptible to COVID-19 infection as fast as possible, which will lower the amount of virus in the population and enable some limitations to be lifted sooner.

The reason for this is that both vaccines reach a high effectiveness level following their first dose- more than 80 percent of the Pfizer injection, and 70 percent of that from AstraZeneca.

In the case of the latter, it appears that there is proof that protection from infection lasts up to 12 weeks and probably even longer.

Meanwhile, the second jab, the said report specified, serves not for the increase of that protection, "but to keep it going for longer."

With the vaccine from Pfizer, there is no publicly available proof that the shield continues for longer than three weeks as the trial volunteers all received their second dose at that time.

ALSO READ: Britain Chooses 'Mix-and-Match' Vaccinations Resulting in Confusion Among Experts

Check out more news and information on COVID-19 and  Vaccines on Science Times.