NHS patients are set to receive the Moderna vaccine today as the Government begins its next phase of the jab rollout.

The vaccine will be the third Covid jab to be dished out in Britain and will be available at 21 sites in England, officials confirmed.

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Along with the Pfizer jab, Moderna offers an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s, after concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.

More than 20 sites, including Reading’s Madejski Stadium and the Sheffield Arena, will initially use the newest jab – which Wales and Scotland began administering last week.

It comes as under 40s begin receiving their vaccine invites, with the speedy rollout working well ahead of schedule.

And Prof Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said having "a third jab in our armoury" marked another "milestone" in the vaccine programme.

He said more sites would offer the Moderna vaccine as further supplies arrive.

And he urged people to come forward for vaccination when they are invited, saying the vaccines were "our hope at the end of a year like no other".

He said: “It is safe, quick and effective – it will protect you and your loved ones.” 

Moderna can be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures, but 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.   

Matt Hancock has urged everyone is eligible for a vaccine to "book their appointments as soon as possible".

The health secretary said on Tuesday: “From today the NHS in England will begin using the Moderna vaccine, following the start of the UK roll out in Wales last week."

He added: "The vaccine has already been used widely in other countries and approved by our medicines regulator as it met the highest standards of safety and effectiveness." 

JAB MILESTONE

So far in the UK more than 32million people have received a coronavirus vaccine with more than 7.4 million having had their second – putting Britain will ahead of schedule.

Boris Johnson hailed the milestone as under-40s began receiving their jab invitations yesterday, three days earlier than planned.

It came after the first nine priority groups were immunised well ahead of the April 15 deadline.

Mr Johnson said: “We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups.

“That means more than 32million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid 19.

“I want to thank everyone involved in the vaccine rollout which has already saved many thousands of lives.

“We will now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July.”

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