Dr Hilary Jones, celebrity guest editor of Live to 100, has been warning against the dangers of complacency as a new Covid-19 vaccine is made available.
From April 13th 2021, the Moderna vaccination joined the list of COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK.
More than 27 million people in England have now received their first jab, with more than 6.1 million second jabs also being given.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination programme.
“We now have a third jab in our armoury and NHS staff will be using it at more than 20 sites from this week, with more coming online as supplies expand.
“England’s vaccination programme is our hope at the end of a year like no other, so please do come forward and get your jab when you’re invited.
“It is safe, quick and effective – it will protect you and your loved ones.”
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Moderna can be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures, but should it need to be stored for longer it can last for six months at -20C.
Along with Pfizer, it will be used by the NHS for some of the appointments rearranged for under 30s who were due to receive the AstraZeneca jab.
During April the NHS is focusing on second doses, but appointments are still available for those in the initial cohorts who have not yet been protected.
People who had their first jab at a vaccination centre or pharmacy-led service should already have a date for their second while those jabbed by a GP will be called back.
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Anyone aged 50 and over can still arrange their jab, as well as people who are clinically vulnerable or a health and care worker, who should contact their GP for an appointment.
The NHS is also inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text, with some GPs also calling unvaccinated patients personally to encourage uptake.
Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are delivering the life-saving jab at more than 1,600 sites ranging from cathedrals, mosques and temples to racecourses, sports stadiums, cinemas and museums, with 21 offering the Moderna jab this week.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Dr Hilary Jones when asked whether mixing vaccinations could enhance or reduce their effectiveness, said that it was difficult to conclude anything while a government-backed study into mixing Covid vaccines was in progress in Oxford.
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England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who is responsible for the study, said that being able to mix vaccines would offer flexibility and could even provoke a better immune response.
Dr Hilary Jones explained that if the trials proved to improve immunity, it would boost the efficiency of vaccination programmes across the world.
The Oxford study will initially be looking at mixing doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, as well as different intervals between doses.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said the Government-backed study would not impact on the current rollout.
Dr Hilary continued: “This could enhance immunity, or it could reduce immunity, that’s what we need to find out during the trial.
“If it improves immunity which we hope it will, that increases the flexibility of vaccination campaigns all over the world where you have got a supply problem with vaccines, we need as many as we can.
“If we can mix and match them and get better immunity, that is a great thing for the whole world.”
But Dr Hilary Jones warned against complacency, saying there could be a third wave of coronavirus and warning that with the country opening up, it’s most definitely not time for “complacency”.
Speaking of the world situation, he said: “There are new variants, there are surges, people are ignoring social distancing rules. In France, they’re in real trouble with ITU units full.
“In Italy, they’ve got almost full lockdown in most areas. Germany are concerned about another lockdown having to be imposed, so there’s certainly no room for complacency.
“What we have here is a virus here that hasn’t changed particularly except for with new variants, so it’s still very transmissible and it’s still quite lethal for some people.”
Dr Hilary said the vaccine roll-out in the UK has been “brilliant” but warned that “vaccination is not going to be the only way” out of the pandemic.
He said: “We mustn’t rely completely on vaccination. We’ve done brilliantly well with a record number of vaccinations – over 800,000 in one day. The equivalent of vaccinating the whole cities of Southampton, Oxford and Liverpool in one day.”
“But vaccination is not going to be the only way out of this, we are still going to have to abide by restrictions and regulations for some time.
He added: “We are seeing coronavirus in younger people – and there are 1.1 million people with long COVID.
“The pandemic is global, it’s going to last for a long time, we’re going to be living with it. Vaccination is not the sole answer.
“A lot of scientific experts are saying that while vaccination has been fantastic, lockdown has been equally fantastic in bringing down the rates.
“There are some parts of the country where rates are still high and rising, so there’s no time for complacency.”