A newspaper declares that “It’s an ominous sign that less than a month into the biggest and most important mass vaccination programme of modern times our frontline GPs are already at odds with the policy-makers in the Department of Health.
“With just one million jabs administered so far and 49million to go before even the most vulnerable in society are fully inoculated, the fact that some doctors are threatening to ignore the official advice should trouble us all. The main point of friction is the sudden change in Whitehall policy over delivery of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Originally, each patient was to have two jabs 21 days apart, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidance. But on Wednesday, without warning, there was a dramatic U-turn. GPs were told there should now be 12 weeks between injections and were instructed to cancel existing appointments for those who had had their first jab and were waiting for their second. The explanation was that the first dose alone gave a good degree of protection and so giving a single injection to the maximum number of people would save more lives.
“On the face of it, this seems reasonable. But there are reservations. First, about the science. Although Government scientists tell us that this vaccine gives significant protection after one dose, this claim seems to be based more on surmise than on detailed data. Pfizer itself says there is no evidence of efficacy beyond 21 days.
“Then there is the breach of trust with those patients who are waiting for their second jab, which they were told was essential within three weeks for full immunity. They are mainly elderly and perhaps less confident than once they were. This lack of consistency is making them fretful and confused.
“The third and most important point is this. With the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine coming on stream on Monday and 100 million doses promised, why can’t we honour all existing second Pfizer appointments AND crack on with giving first jabs to all who need them? We were promised that there would be sufficient quantities of vaccine and vaccinators, so why does Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty now tell us that vaccine shortage is now ‘a reality’?”
Why indeed. As a “victim” of this inconsistency along will all my fretful and confused friends, all I see is the dead hand of Health Secretary Matt Hancockup right in the middle of it. It’s bad enough that our local politicians and officer classes treat us like fodder. But a Secretary of State? Oh hell, ignore me, I’m becoming delirious! Put it down to the vaccine in my glass!