The third coronavirus vaccine jab to be approved for use in the UK is being rolled out today (Wednesday) in Wales.
The first dose of the Moderna vaccine will be administered at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen, the Welsh Government said.
Vaccination centres in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area were sent 5,000 does of the vaccine on Tuesday (April 6), it added.
The vaccine’s approval by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency was announced on January 8.
The UK has bought 17 million doses of the Moderna jab – enough for 8.5 million people – and it will be rolled out alongside the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs.
Phase three results suggest Moderna’s efficacy against Covid-19 was 94.1%, and efficacy against severe Covid-19 was 100%.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “delighted we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine in west Wales today”.
He added: “The UK government has secured vaccines on behalf of the entire nation and the vaccination programme has shown our country working together at its best.
“Three out of every five people across the whole United Kingdom have received at least one dose, and today we start with the third approved vaccine. Wherever you live, when you get the call, get the jab.”
Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the rollout is “another key milestone in our fight” against coronavirus.
He said: “A third vaccine for use in Wales significantly adds to our defences in the face of coronavirus and will help to protect our most vulnerable.
“Every vaccine given to someone in Wales is a small victory against the virus and we would encourage everyone to go for their vaccine when invited.”
Ros Jervis, director of public health for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We’re delighted to be able to use the Moderna vaccine for deployment across west Wales.
“We will be using this new vaccine, alongside Oxford AstraZeneca, to continue the vaccine rollout to our communities in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
“We are incredibly lucky to have a third vaccine in Wales, with a long shelf life and the ability to be easily transported, to help deliver the vaccination programme to small clinics across our rural communities.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the first batch of Moderna vaccines had arrived in the country on Monday.
Scotland is due to receive more than a million of the doses ordered by the UK and Ms Sturgeon said they have already been factored into planning for the vaccination programme, and will be delivered over the coming months.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said the Moderna vaccine will be rolled out in England “as soon as possible this month”.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Tuesday morning that it would be deployed “around the third week of April”.
It has not been confirmed when the rollout of Moderna will begin in Northern Ireland.