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12-week vaccine gap ‘not my call’

Created on 24/01/2021 @ 10:05


As more medical professionals call for the current 12-week gap between the two Covid-19 vaccine jabs to be decreased to six, First Minister Mark Drakeford admitted that the decision in Wales was out of his hands.

MyWelshpool put the question to him on Friday during an online ‘round table’ with Mid Wales media following concerns voiced to us by Dr Waseem Aslam from Welshpool Medical Centre, ahead of their vaccination launch tomorrow.

Makers Pfizer-BioNTech recommend that the second jab should follow only three weeks after the first, but following an idea first floated by Tony Blair, the United Kingdom is delaying the second to allow more people to receive their first in a bid to slow down the virus spread.

Dr Aslam said the move has had no clinical trials and the question we relayed to Mr Drakeford was: “We are exposing our front line vaccinators to be vaccinating general public with no evidence-based rationale for delaying this second injection. How is this safe and justifiable?”

Mr Drakeford said he fully understood the “important points” that Dr Aslem had made but that he was following the advice from the four chief medical officers of the UK.

“I don’t make the judgements,” said Mr Drakeford. “These are really questions for the medical experts and not the politicians as we are following their advice.”

Across the border, senior doctors are calling on England's chief medical officer to cut the gap between the first and second doses.

The British Medical Association told Professor Chris Whitty an extension to the maximum gap between jabs was “difficult to justify”.

The UK’s four chief medical officers have previously defended the delay to the second jab in a letter to medical staff, saying: “unvaccinated people are far more likely to end up severely ill, hospitalised [or] in some cases dying”.

Mr Drakeford admitted that the gap will only be reduced if more evidence comes in showing that the extended length of time was not effective.

Welshpool launches its vaccination programme tomorrow at the medical centre, starting with the 75-79 age range.

PICTURE: First Minister Mark Drakeford chatting with local media, including MyWelshpool, via Zoom on Friday.


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