Prof Kailash Chand takes apart Matt Hancock’s new desperation-driven ‘plan’ that will destroy vaccine roll-out’s effectiveness
The Government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) today recommended a single dose of either vaccine should be given to as many vulnerable people as possible, rather than sticking to the original two-dose strategy.
This in no way is a scientific decision – it is political expediency.
Pfizer said in a statement:
Data from the phase three study demonstrated that, although partial protection from the vaccine appears to begin as early as 12 days after the first dose, two doses of the vaccine are required to provide the maximum protection against the disease, a vaccine efficacy of 95 per cent.
There are no data to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days.’
Further, the trial data said that after a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine coverage was 52%. But six days after the second dose that rose to nearly 91%.
Outrageous. What use is 52% to someone over 80 or 90 who is extremely vulnerable? Delaying the second shot to 12 weeks means they will have to continue to shield three months extra, until next jab – unacceptable at that age – particularly those beginning cognitive decline after already being in isolation for 10 months.
By not allowing the 2nd Pfizer dose within the recommended time frame by the manufacturer is nothing less than clinical negligence. Pfizer has explicitly said there is no data to suggest the first dose is effective beyond three weeks. This is incredibly distressing for older people who thought they were going to be protected.
Surely the researchers and scientists who designed and manufactured the vaccine are the ones should be listening to, rather than politicians .
The British Medical Association (BMA) General Practice Committee chair, Richard Vautrey, says,
The decision to ask GPs, at such short notice, to rebook patients for three months hence, will also cause huge logistical problems for almost all vaccination sites and practices. For example, to make contact with even just two thousand elderly or vulnerable patients will take a team of five staff at a practice about a week, and that’s simply untenable.
I agree with the BMA, it is “grossly unfair” to elderly patients to cancel their second dose appointments next week and is right in supporting doctors who will defy the NHS advice.
I appeal to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to urgently reverse his instructions to vaccination hubs and to ask them to stick to the original protocol. The stakes are too high and it’s not the time to experiment or play politics with vaccines.
Read the BMA’s response to the government’s decision to delay the follow-up dose of the Pfizer vaccine here.
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