Senior physicians attack choice to make people wait 12 weeks for second

Senior medical professionals have criticised the decision to make individuals wait 12 weeks for a 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine, calling for the wait to be cut in half.

The UK is the only nation to have presented such a long space, flouting a World Health Organisation suggestion, the British Medical Association (BMA) said.

” What we’re saying is that the UK should adopt this finest practice based on international expert opinion,” stated Dr Chaand Nagpaul, its council chairman.

” If the vaccine’s effectiveness is lowered … then of course the risk is that we will see those who are exposed maximally to the infection may get infected.”

It emerged on Friday that the Sage advisory group had raised the possible danger of triggering a “vaccine-resistant mutation”, by postponing 2nd dosages.

Nevertheless, both the chief medical officer and the chief clinical advisor have backed the decision to rip up the initial promise of a second Pfizer dose after just 3 weeks.

Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said it was a “public health choice” that would enable “many more people to be immunized a lot more quickly”.

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And Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, informed the Downing Street press conference: “The most dangerous thing in terms of new anomalies is to have extremely high prevalence.”

However the WHO recommended a gap of 4 weeks between doses– to be extended, just in remarkable circumstances, to six weeks.

Pfizer has stated it has checked the level of protection offered by its vaccine just when the two dosages are quit to 21 days apart.

Dr Nagpaul said he comprehended the “reasoning” behind the decision to delay the 2nd dosage to 12 weeks, however argued it was “difficult to justify”.

” A lot of countries worldwide are dealing with obstacles comparable to the UK in having restricted vaccine supply and likewise wanting to protect their population maximally,” he informed BBC Breakfast.

” No other nation has embraced the UK’s method. We think the versatility that the WHO offers, of encompassing 42 days, is being stretched far too much to go from 6 weeks right through to 12 weeks.

” I do understand the compromise and the rationale but if that was the best thing to do then we would see other nations following suit.”

There is no similar concern over the 12-week wait for a 2nd dosage of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being made in the UK.

Its trials provided higher confidence that the first dosage can continue to provide security for at least a few months, before the booster shot.

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