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UK inoculates first patient with Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

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82-year-old Brian Pinker receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sam Foster at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
82-year-old Brian Pinker receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sam Foster at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.   -   Copyright  Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP
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The UK inoculated the first patient in the world with the coronavirus vaccine from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Monday.

Brian Pinker, 82, was vaccinated in Oxford and said he was proud to receive the jab and that he did not feel a thing.

"The vaccine means everything to me, I mean, to my mind, it's the only way I'll be getting back to normal life. This virus is terrible, isn't it?" he said.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said he was delighted by the rollout of the country's second approved coronavirus vaccine which he said was a "testament to British science."

"This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this awful virus and I hope it provides renewed hope to everybody that the end of this pandemic is in sight," Hancock said in a statement.

The country secured 100 million doses of the jab which is much cheaper and easier to store than Pfizer's mRNA vaccine that the country began rolling out in December.

More than 500,000 doses will be available from Monday as the UK rushes to vaccinate the vulnerable against coronavirus.

Hancock said that more than one million vaccines had been administered by the beginning of January and hopes to increase that number significantly in the coming month.

It comes as the country has recorded 50,000 new daily cases for multiple days as a new, more transmissible variant of the virus spreads through the country.

Despite the vaccine rollout, the crisis in the country is continuing to worsen as infections rise.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer has called for a national lockdown amid rising cases, something Hancock told Sky News the government is not ruling out.

Some experts have criticised the UK strategy stating that they need to work better to bring down infections instead of relying on future vaccinations to solve the crisis.

Second coronavirus jab approved in December

The UK medicines regulator approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use on December 30, becoming the first country to give the go-ahead to the company's vaccine.

The UK has more than 730 vaccination centres and is looking to increase that number to more than 1,000.

The Oxford vaccine is based on a weakened adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees.

The vaccine was found to be up to 90% effective in clinical trials depending on the dosing regimen, AstraZeneca and Oxford said in November based on interim data from phase three trials.

The Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine is currently under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency which said they expected more interim data from the phase three trials in January.

The EU has reserved 300 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.**

The NHS has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of patients with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was approved in early December. That vaccine has also been approved for emergency use in the European Union.