The British Medical Association asked the UK Health authorities to shorten the current 12-week gap between the first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, out of concern about the antidote’s level of protection, the chair of the doctors’ union, Chaand Nagpaul, confirmed on Saturday.
"We wrote to the chief medical officer asking him to reconsider the decision in the UK, looking at guidance from the World Health Organisation, and taking stock of the fact that no other nation in the world other than the UK has adopted the 12-week delay," Nagpaul told Sky News broadcaster.
On December, 2020, the UK became the first country in the world to approve and rollout the Pfizer vaccine, but in order to ensure more people get the first jab sooner, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency opted to delay the second dose for up to 12 weeks instead of the 21-day gap recommended by the manufacturers.
The World Health Organisation has recommended that the gap should be a maximum of 6 weeks.
"A six-week delay compared to the original three weeks is still doubling the number of people who can be vaccinated," the BMA chair said.
According to Nagpaul, their concern is about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine alone because the manufacturer of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine gave its consent for a delay of up to three months between doses.
UK housing minister Robert Jenrick claimed, however, that that the government was following experts’ advice when it made the decision to space the time between doses.
"As a result of that we are ensuring millions more people can get the first jab and a high level of protection that that provides as quickly as possible," Jenrick said as quoted by Sky News.
According to the government’s COVID-19 dashboard, a total of 5,383,103 doses of the coronavirus vaccines had been given in the UK between December 8 and January 21.