LONDON—The coronavirus has torn through nursing homes in the U.K., as it has in the U.S., taking tens of thousands of lives. Now, the U.K. hopes it is turning the tide, thanks to a homegrown vaccine that has yet to be authorized elsewhere in the West.
More than four million of the most at-risk people in the U.K., almost 8% of the adult population, have been vaccinated with at least one shot of vaccine.
Among them are more than half of the frailest group of all: the 300,000 elderly residents of nursing homes who can’t travel to get a shot. The key to reaching them has been mobile vaccination teams armed with a shot developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC.
Together with a network of family doctors and vaccination hubs in sports centers, hotels and cathedrals, this shot has helped the country to stay on track toward a target of vaccinating its 15 million most vulnerable people by mid-February.
The government says the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has also been authorized in India, Morocco and some countries in Latin America, has been a game changer in reaching people tucked away in smaller nursing homes.