UK begins second vaccination campaign with AstraZeneca vaccine

Brian Pinker, 82, was the first Briton to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, January 4 in Oxford.

AP - Steve Parsons

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

Despite an upsurge in contamination due to a highly contagious variant of Covid-19, the United Kingdom has already vaccinated a million people in almost a month.

This Monday has even just started a second parallel campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine.


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Mask on the face and arm raised in front of the cameras, at 82 years old Brian Pinker received this Monday, January 4 the first injection of the new AstraZeneca vaccine at the University Hospital of Oxford.

This retiree who worked in maintenance said he was very proud that

this vaccine was invented on site, a

 few hundred meters from where it was vaccinated.

The government has ordered 100 million doses of this "national" vaccine, co-developed by an Oxford institute and the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca.

520,000 are already ready.

This is a turning point in our fight against this horrible virus, 

" said Minister of Health Matt Hancock, who also wants this vaccine to give hope to everyone. 

AstraZeneca, a company born from a merger 20 years ago

AstraZeneca as we know it today was born a little over 20 years ago from the merger of Swedish Astra and British Zeneca.

Its strengths: molecules against cancer, treatments against cardiovascular diseases and those against respiratory diseases.

The group is also gaining strength in immunology and rare diseases.

He announced in mid-December the takeover of biotech Axelion for $ 39 billion.

Shareholders and authorities have yet to give the green light and the transaction could be finalized in the third quarter of 2021.

In any case, this big takeover by AstraZeneca was anticipated by the British financial press.

Its share price had climbed at the start of the pandemic before falling again.

The Bloomberg agency had even revealed in June that AstraZeneca had approached the Gilead group for a mega-merger.

This would have allowed them to unite in the fight against the coronavirus, but the deal was not ultimately concluded.

With more than 50,000 contaminations per day and overwhelmed hospitals, the British have high hopes for the arrival of this new vaccine, because 

this second wave is much more violent

than the first in the United Kingdom.

Scotland has just announced total containment and there are now many elected officials, including conservatives, to demand the same for England as well as the closure of schools ... and also that of the borders.


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  • United Kingdom

  • Coronavirus

  • Health and medicine