Irreplaceable vaccine workers to get jabs following AstraZeneca outbreak | ITV News – ITV News

“Irreplaceable” workers involved in the supply of coronavirus vaccines will be offered jabs, after a boss at AstraZeneca called for staff to be immunised following an outbreak at one of the firm’s centres.

Up to 2,000 “highly trained” workers will receive Covid-19 vaccines in order to “reduce the risk” of an outbreak that could “disrupt the immediate supply chain”.

Vaccines will be offered to workers at pharmaceutical firms including Pfizer and AstraZeneca – two of the UK’s vaccine suppliers – which have been identified as “crucial” in the rollout of the UK’s immunisation programme.

Staff working in manufacturing, fill and finish and batch testing will be offered vaccines in the “coming days”, the
Department of Health and Social Care said.

The government has insisted supply is currently the only limiting factor in vaccine distribution, but Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at AstraZeneca warned that could change if workers are not immunised.



He told the Science and Technology Committee of MPs that an outbreak had already occurred at AstraZeneca, as he called for staff to be vaccinated.

“One of the things that I’m worried about is actually maintaining a continuous supply and work on this vaccine,” he said.

“Of course, with the outbreak and the pandemic where it is I feel it’s critical to the people that are working on this vaccine are actually immunised.

“Because if you have an outbreak at one of the centres – which we’ve had actually – or in one of the groups in Oxford is working on new variants, or the people that are working on the regulatory files, everything stops.

“This is a concern that I have and so again we’re pushing to try and get our key workers that are working on the vaccine project immunised to try and prevent these outbreaks.”


90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Credit: PA

The government is currently working to complete phase one of the vaccine rollout – the UK’s most vulnerable to coronavirus – before offering jabs to others, but it appears vaccine workers will be offered jabs as part of the first stage of the programme.

Vaccines are currently being offered to the four groups considered most vulnerable to coronavirus, over-80s, care home residents and staff, over-75s, and over-70s.

The government hopes to vaccinate all 13.9 million people in these groups before progressing through the rest of the priority list.

Vaccine priority list:

1 – Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers (800,000 people)
2 – Those aged 80 and over and frontline health and social care workers (a total of 7.1 million people in this group: 3.3m over 80s, 2.4m healthcare workers, 1.4m social care workers)
3 – Those aged 75 and over (2.3 million)
4 – Those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (3.2 million)
5 – Those aged 65 and over (2.9 million)
6 – All individuals aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality (7.3 million)
7 – Those aged 60 and over (1.8 million)
8 – Those aged 55 years and over (2.4 million)
9 – Those aged 50 years of age and over (2.8 million)

After all nine groups have been vaccinated the government will reveal which groups will come next, with teachers and police officers thought to be the first in line.

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