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Moderna debuts as vaccination programme gets a third shot in the arm

Use of the third COVID vaccination to be cleared as safe and effective is starting in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The community vaccination centre at Tunstall is one of three pilot sites in the West Midlands to begin use of the Moderna vaccine.

It coincides with people aged 45-49 being able to book vaccinations for the first time.

Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent vaccination programme said: “It is good news that we have a third jab that is safe and effective to use against COVID. Tunstall is one of the first centres in the country to use Moderna, so we’re delighted to be leading the way, and we are now looking at which other sites will use it.”

The Moderna vaccine uses a similar technology to the Pfizer jab, but does not require the same -70c storage. Moderna can be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures, and 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.

Neil Carr, Senior Responsible Officer for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent vaccination programme added: “I am delighted that the programme has now delivered over 600,000 first does and 143,000 second dose vaccines across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. This is all thanks to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and committed workforce.

“The introduction of the Moderna vaccine is a great step forward in the vaccine programme. It is another safe and effective vaccination against COVID and I encourage everyone who is offered the vaccine to take up the offer.

“What an achievement! Again, many thanks to our volunteers, GPs and practice staff, hospitals, the local authority and every member of staff who has enabled this milestone in keeping our citizens safe.”

Anyone who is in an eligible category can either book online through the national booking system or if they unable to get online they can call 119.

Some patients will also be contacted direct by their GP practice.