Covid-19: Order to reprogram and delay second dose of vaccine is “totally unfair”, says BMA

Healthcare workers in England have been asked to postpone appointments for the second dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech covid-19 vaccine after the government advisory committee decided that vaccinating as many people as possible with a first dose should be the priority.

The BMA called the decision “unreasonable and utterly unfair” and said it could cause “huge logistical problems” for general practitioners and vaccination centers.

The government has now said people should receive their second dose of vaccine (whether it’s Oxford and AstraZeneca or Pfizer BioNTech) within 12 weeks of the first, rather than within a few weeks. But many general practitioners and clinical managers told the BMA that postponing already promised second doses “will have a terrible impact on the emotional well-being of their most vulnerable and at risk patients.”

Healthcare professionals were notified of the change by letter from NHS England on December 30, 1 following approval by the Health Products and Medicines Regulatory Agency of Oxford and AstraZeneca. 2

The letter read: “Prioritizing the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of people at risk in the shortest possible time and have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, serious illnesses and hospitalizations and in the protection of the NHS and equivalent health services. Operationally, this means that the second doses of both vaccines will be administered towards the end of the recommended 12 week regimen. “

“[The four UK chief medical officers] recognize that this will mean that we will have to reschedule second doses for most of our current early recipients, but for the reasons outlined today by JCVI [the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] and OGCs, by doing so, are expected to dramatically improve the protection of individuals and the population against covid-19 over the next three months.

So far, people over the age of 80 and residents of nursing homes have been the first to receive the vaccine.

Richard Vautrey, Chairman of the BMA General Practitioners Committee, said: “The decision to ask general practitioners, within such a short time frame, to book patients for three months, will also cause enormous logistical problems for almost all vaccination sites and practices. For example, to come into contact with even 2,000 elderly or vulnerable patients, it will take a team of five staff in a practice about a week, which is simply untenable.

He added: “The government must see that it is fair that existing reservations for the oldest and most vulnerable members of our society are honored, and it must also publish as soon as possible a scientifically validated rationale for its new approach. . As doctors, we believe this can and should be done even as practices and the NHS as a whole scale up the covid-19 vaccination program to deliver the initial doses of vaccination to other vulnerable people, including including frontline healthcare professionals – many of whom have not even received their first immunizations yet.

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