#Pfizer and #AstraZeneca have dismissed government warnings of vaccine shortages lasting several months, saying there will be enough doses to meet the country’s ambitious goals.
#England’s chief medical officer, #Professor #Chris #Whitty, warned this week that vaccine availability issues “will remain the case for several months” as companies struggle to meet global demand.
#In an effort to ration supplies, the government has pledged to give single doses of the #Pfizer vaccine to as many people as possible – rather than giving a second dose to those already vaccinated.
#But the makers of the #Pfizer and #Oxford / #AstraZeneca jabs dismissed concerns, saying there is no supply issue.
Their intervention came after another 53,285 people tested positive in #Britain on #Friday – marking four days in a row with more than 50,000 positive tests reported.
#And 613 more people have died from the virus – including an eight-year-old child – bringing the total official death toll to 74,125.
The eight-year-old died in #England on #December 30 and had other health problems, the NHS said.
#At least one million doses of #Pfizer and some 530,000 doses of #Oxford will likely be given to patients across the country next week, reports the #Daily #Telegraph.
#Earlier this month, #AstraZeneca boss #Pascal #Soriot pledged the company would be able to deliver two million doses per week by mid-January, which means 24 million could be vaccinated by #Easter.
#Vaccine companies have dismissed government warnings of jab supply gaps for months, saying there will be enough doses to meet government ambitions targets (file image)
#Margaret #Keenan returned to hospital this week to receive her second cycle of the #Covid-19 vaccine, but thousands more patients are set to have their appointments delayed as part of a new program to get more people to receive their first dose.
The intervention of the developers of the only two #Covid vaccines approved in the UK came amid a row over ministers’ decision to ration vaccine supplies.
#Officials said patients who had already received a dose of the vaccine should have their second dose – which they were told they would receive three weeks later – postponed until 12 weeks.
#In a statement released #Thursday night, the UK’s chief medical officers said the decision was made on a “balance between risks and benefits”.
The doctors are #Professor #Whitty (#England), #Dr #Frank #Atherton (#Wales), #Dr #Gregor #Smith (#Scotland) and #Dr #Michael #McBride (#Northern #Ireland).
They said, “#We need to make sure we maximize the number of eligible people who get the vaccine.
“#Currently, the main obstacle to this is vaccine availability, a global problem, and this will remain the case for several months and, most importantly, during the critical winter period.
” #Availability of the AZ vaccine [Oxford/AstraZeneca] reduces, but does not eliminate, this major problem. The shortage of vaccines is a reality that cannot be desired.
#And they said there is no reason to suggest that the vaccines will be less effective if the doses are given longer than intended.
The report added: “#With most vaccines, a prolonged interval between the initial dose and the booster dose leads to a better immune response at the booster dose.
PFIZER RESPONDS TO UNITED KINGDOM PLAN TO GIVE PEOPLE ONE DOSE NOT TWO
#Pfizer warned yesterday that there was “no data” to show that a single dose of its coronavirus vaccine provides long-term protection after the UK abandoned its original rollout plan.
The #British medical regulator now recommends that #Covid injections be given in two doses three months apart, rather than four weeks apart, to allow millions more people to be vaccinated over a shorter period.
The strategy will apply to both the #Pfizer / #BioNTech vaccine and the newly approved vaccine from #Oxford / #AstraZeneca, despite limited data on the efficacy of the initial doses.
#This is a direct response to the increase in #Covid cases and hospitalizations across the UK which are being triggered by a new, highly infectious strain that emerged in the south-east of #England in #September.
#Virtually all of #England faces a brutal lockdown until the spring, with #Covid vaccines the only hope to end the devastation.
#Health officials now want to give as many people as possible an initial dose, rather than withholding second doses, so that more of the population can enjoy at least some protection.
#AstraZeneca welcomed the move and revealed that it has tested the three-month strategy on a small subgroup of trials in its studies.
#But #Pfizer said there was “no data” in its studies to show that its vaccine protects against #Covid when taken 12 weeks apart.
#In a thinly veiled look at the UK, the US firm warned that any “alternative” dosing regimen should be closely monitored by health authorities.
“#Data from the phase three study demonstrated that although partial protection against the vaccine appears to begin as early as 12 days after the first dose, two doses of the vaccine are needed to provide maximum protection against the disease, vaccine efficacy. by 95 percent, ”#Pfizer said in a statement.
“There are no data to show that protection after the first dose is maintained after 21 days.
“#It has been shown that a longer interval between the first and second dose promotes a stronger immune response with the #AstraZeneca vaccine.
“There is currently no strong evidence to suggest that the immune response of the #Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would differ significantly from the #AstraZeneca and #Moderna vaccines.
#But doctors revolted and said they would not deny vulnerable patients the vaccines they had promised them amid fears the injections would not work as well with a single dose.
GPs have called the policy “patently unfair” and frustrated scientists have warned that clinical trials of the vaccine only test its effectiveness with an interval of three weeks, so there is no evidence the new regimen would work. long-term.
#Experts backing the policy change, however, fought back and said every second dose given was one more person missing their potentially life-saving first vaccine.
#Former #Department of #Health #Immunization #Chief #Professor #David #Salisbury said: “Every time we give a second dose right now, we are withholding that from someone who is susceptible, if they get a. coronavirus, to die. ”
The government has not yet clarified whether there will be penalties for doctors who refuse to switch to the single-dose policy, with one doctor saying NHS bosses told him to use ‘clinical discretion’ .
#Margaret #Keenan, the first person in the world to receive a #Covid-19 vaccine, received her second vaccine earlier this week.
#But thousands more across #Britain will have their second dates delayed so the NHS can focus on distributing beatings to more people.
A total of 944,539 people across the UK received the first dose of a #Covid-19 vaccine on #December 27, according to the #Department of #Health.
The #Hospital #Consultants and #Specialists #Association (HCSA) warned that the “ill-considered” plan to delay the second dose would leave many vulnerable staff in limbo.
GPs working for the #Black #Country and #West #Birmingham NHS boards, as well as a doctor in #Oxford, said they would honor their commitments to patients.
The #No10 put their hopes on the #Oxford vaccine – which was approved this week – finally ending the perpetual cycle of lockdown and openness, which has devastated the economy and healthcare in general.
#But life is unlikely to return to normal by #Easter, even if 24 million people are vaccinated, as two-thirds of the population will still be vulnerable to the disease.
#Scientists say herd immunity – when a sufficient population becomes immune for the virus to die out – will only be achieved when 70% of people are protected. #Some #American experts have warned that this figure could reach 90%.