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Why is the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine being delayed? Dr Hilary Jones answers key vaccine questions

Today the first doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine were administered at hospitals in England.

Following the the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine being made available some questions have been raised over people who were given the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine having their second dose delayed.

Originally the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine would see people receive the first dose followed up by the second dose three weeks later.

However, now people are having their appointments for the second dose cancelled and delayed for 12 weeks as the government aims to give as many people as possible the first dose before administering second doses.

Dr Hilary Jones explains: "The new variant has undoubtedly changed the data and the thinking on this. If you have two grandparents is it better to vaccinate one of them twice and give them very good protection and not to vaccinate the other at all or is it better to give each of them one dose and give them both very good protection?"

The question many people are asking is how much protection they will actually receive from one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"The data ranges anywhere between 75% and 89% with one dose which is actually very good," Dr Hilary said. "By waiting the extra few weeks until you have the second dose you are able to protect far greater numbers of people with one dose and logically and scientifically that has to be right.

"It is hugely inconvenient and distressing for people to have their second dose cancelled. It's confusing but there is a science behind it and for the greater good of more people it is better to have a bigger gap between the two doses."

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