FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Health services in the UK today (January 4) marked the first anniversary of the deployment of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in fight against Covid-19.

Exactly a year ago, the UK became the first country in the world to administer the vaccine by jabbing Brian Pinker, 82 at Oxford University Hospital.

So far, around 50 million AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered to people in the UK.

Commenting on the landmark day, vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a UK success story and demonstrates what can be achieved when researchers, scientists and the government work together.

“The at-cost vaccine has given billions of people around the world a way to fight back against this virus.”

Further, she urged people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families this winter.

Lauding the achievement, health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Backed by government funding, the UK-made, Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has played an absolutely crucial role in our fight against Covid-19, saving countless lives in the UK and around the world.”

He added that it is crucial that people take their vaccines and booster to top up immunity and “protect the progress we have made.”

The government invested more than £88 million to support research, development and manufacturing of the vaccine.

In just over a year, more than 133 million Covid-19 vaccinations have been administered in the UK including around 34 million boosters and third doses, ensuring vital protection against the Omicron variant.

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