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England is preparing to offer its first doses of the Moderna jab from Tuesday, the third Covid vaccine introduced as part of the national vaccine rollout.

Vaccination will be available at 21 sites, including the Madejski Stadium in Reading and the Sheffield Arena, as the Vaccines Taskforce confirms it has secured 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine for the UK.

Developed with similar technology to the Pfizer jab, it offers an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under 30s, following concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.

Wales and Scotland began using the Moderna vaccine last week, and it is due to be delivered to people in Northern Ireland over the coming weeks.

Commenting on the news, Prof Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told BBC Breakfast:

I hope this is another step along the way and that we’ll actually see more vaccines come through over the coming months and we’ll have a really strong and secure supply. The programme hasn’t been able to move forward quite as fast as it would have if there had been more vaccine supply this month. Having this additional supply of Moderna is clearly going to speed that up and enable us to get started on phase two and people in their 40s.

All over-50s and high-risk groups in the UK have been offered a coronavirus vaccine before the mid-April deadline set by the government, allowing the second phase of the rollout to younger cohorts to begin.

The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has revealed that 19 out of 20 of those most at risk have now been vaccinated, which he calls an “incredible” achievement.

The NHS website for booking vaccination appointments crashed this morning after those aged over 45 were allowed to receive a jab.

However, in a potentially worrying development, a “significant” cluster of the South African Covid variant has been found in two areas of south London where surge testing has been implemented.

Wandsworth and Lambeth will see additional testing after 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases were identified.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, said the number of cases was “significant”, as she stressed it was “really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community”. We will keep you updated with the latest throughout the day.

Here is the agenda for today:
09.30am: ONS to release Covid death statistics up to 2 April for England and Wales

10:00am: DCMS looks at the survival of sport at grassroots level and in communities

11.30am: Health and social care questions in the Commons

15.00pm: Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organisation special envoy on Covid-19, will be in an online discussion with Prof David Heymann

For global coronavirus news, do read our global live blog:

This content first appear on the guardian

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