18th March 2021

The Vaccine Breakdown

On the 11th January 2021, the UK government announced its plans for the largest vaccination programme in British history. As a part of this plan, there will be at least 2 million vaccinations per week with over 2,700 vaccine sites across the UK. 

So far over 23 million Brits have received their primary dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines; Pfizer,BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Moderna vaccine. As of March 2021, the UK is second globally in the number of vaccination doses administered, behind Israel. 

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

What vaccines are available?

Whilst many vaccines are still in development, only three have been approved for use in the UK. These are, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. 

Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine 

The development for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine began in March 2020 with Phase I clinical trials starting in Germany in April of 2020. 

The UK was the first to approve the vaccine for use on an emergency basis, and the vaccine was approved for use in the UK on the 2nd December 2020. 

Clinical trials undertaken by Pfizer state that the vaccine was 95% effective on 43,000 people. For full immunity two doses are required, with a gap of 19-42 days between doses. 

Oxford University/AstraZeneca Vaccine 

The development for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine began in February of 2020, with enrolment for clinical trials beginning in August of 2020. 

The vaccine was approved for use by the UK government on 30th December 2020. 

The vaccine is said to provide 70.4% immunity up to 14 days after the second dose. 

In February 2021, plans were announced to develop and adapt the current vaccine for newer variants of COVID 19. 

Moderna Vaccine 

Development for the Moderna vaccine was announced in January of 2020. 

The vaccine was also developed with the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases (NIAID) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Phase I clinical trials for the Moderna Vaccine began in March of 2020. 

The vaccine was approved for use by the UK on the 8th of January 2021. 

It is reported that the Moderna vaccine has up to 94.1% efficiency as suggested by the Phase III trials. 

The UK Vaccine Rollout

The UK government aims to offer the primary dose of the COVID 19 vaccine dose to 32 million people by April 2021. 

The vaccine rollout will take part in two phases. 

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout will encompass all priority groups. People aged 50 +, care home residents and workers, frontline health and social workers and clinically extremely vulnerable people will be offered the vaccine first. Additionally, those with underlying conditions and unpaid carers are expected to be offered the vaccine by April 2021. 

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout encompasses the remaining 21 million of the population. The vaccine will be offered in the following order to the following age groups;




In total the UK government is expected to have spent around £12 billion on the COVID vaccination program however that is expected to rise. 

Feature Image Credit; The Guardian