Patients in Wales will from Wednesday become the first in the UK to receive the Moderna vaccine as part of a mass vaccination programme, with the first doses in Scotland set to come later this week.
The initial jabs would be given at the West Wales general hospital in Carmarthen, the Welsh government said.
It added that 5,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine – the third to be approved for use in the UK – had been sent to centres in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, covering Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, on Tuesday.
It comes as Scotland received its first delivery on Monday, and a spokesperson told the Guardian that the doses would start to be administered later this week.
Scotland is set to get more than a million of the 17m jabs ordered by Westminster, with vaccine procurement centralised rather than devolved.
England is yet to receive its first batch for general distribution, with vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi saying on Tuesday it would be rolled out around “the third week of April”. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care on Tuesday said it would be rolled out “as soon as possible this month”.
The Guardian asked the UK, Welsh and Scottish governments for further details about how the vaccine supply had been divided between the four nations – but none were able to provide details.
It has not been confirmed when the jab will be received in Northern Ireland and start to be used to vaccinate people there.
The Moderna vaccine was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 8 January, with phase 3 trials showing it had 94.1% efficacy against Covid, and 100% against severe illness. Like the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs, it requires two doses for full protection, according to tests.
The Welsh health minister, Vaughan Gething, said it was a “significant” addition to the country’s vaccination programme.
“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 said: “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.”
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said he was “delighted we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine in west Wales”.
He added: “Three out of every five people across the whole UK 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.”