The first UK doses of the Moderna Covid vaccine will be administered in Wales today, the Government has announced.
The Welsh Government said 5,000 doses were sent to vaccination centres in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area and begin to be administered from West Wales General Hospital today.
The Moderna vaccine, which was authorised for use by the MHRA in January, is a two-dose vaccine that can be given at an interval of between four and 12 weeks.
The UK Government has purchased 17 million doses of the vaccine, with the first doses expected ‘by spring’. However, the Government and Moderna both declined to tell Pulse how many doses were due to arrive this month.
Patients given the Moderna Covid vaccine will have to be observed for 15 minutes following the jab and GPs can consider ‘pre-treatment’ with antihistamines and a 30-minute observation after vaccination with any Covid jab for patients with certain anaphylaxis history, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
Like the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to be rolled out in the UK in December, the Moderna vaccine is based on novel mRNA technology. Its phase 3 trial, concluded in November, found it to be 95% effective, with no significant side effects.
Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething called the rollout ‘another key milestone’ in the fight against Covid-19, adding that ‘a third vaccine for use in Wales significantly adds to our defences in the face of coronavirus and will help to protect our most vulnerable’.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I’m delighted we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine in west Wales today. The UK Government has secured vaccines on behalf of the entire nation and the vaccination programme has shown our country working together at its best.’
He added that, so far, three out of every five people across the UK have received at least one dose.
Last month, a US study found that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccines are ‘safe’ for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and offer strong immunity against the virus.
The UK Government has ordered 407 million doses from a range of vaccine suppliers, including: