Vaccine: Expert discusses getting second jab before 12 weeks
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The Government is aiming to offer at least one dose of the vaccine to all adults by mid-July, saying the continued success of the rollout is essential to easing of restrictions this month. So far, 85 percent of the adult population has been vaccinated with a first dose, and 33 million more have had their second as well. The number of first doses given every day is now averaging at more than 170,000. While this remains far below the estimated 500,000-a-day average in March, it’s on the rise again as the vaccine rollout is opened up to younger age groups.
How long should you wait between Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna doses?
As soon as you’re offered to have your second dose, you should take up the opportunity to do so.
You should be invited, for all three vaccines, between four and 12 weeks after you’ve had your first jab.
The Government is aiming to vaccinate those over 40, those who have health conditions or are frontline health and social care workers, after a maximum of eight weeks.
This is in an effort to ensure these groups of people have the greatest protection as soon as possible.
However, there may be some variation depending on where you live and how many people have signed up to be vaccinated.
Research shows the second dose can be given between three and 12 weeks after the first one.
The second dose is essential to ensure the effectivess of the vaccine and to maximise immunisation against new variants.
Due to a sharp increase in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, Brits may be offered their second dose sooner than anticipated.
While the recommended time for all three vaccines is between four and 12 weeks, one Government scientific adviser said one month is too soon.
Some people have been sharing tips via social media of some locations giving out second doses after just a month as walk-in vaccination clinics opened up across England last weekend.
But Professor Anthony Harnden from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says the “sweet spot” is eight weeks and any earlier means you won’t be protected for as long.
He said: “The data suggests very strongly that the longer you leave the second dose, the better longer term protection you will have.
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“There is a sort of sweet spot from about eight weeks onwards, and we wouldn’t advise anybody to really have the second dose before then.”
The NHS website states second doses should “usually” be given eight to 12 weeks after the first dose.
Professor Harnden added that he understands the concern about wasted vaccines, saying: “We want vaccines in arms, not fridges.”
The JCVI professor’s advice is too late for many who have posted online to say they’ve had their second dose before the recommended period of time.
If this means protection from the virus is less effective, Professor Harnden says it’s “entirely possible” that younger people could need booster jabs later down the line.
Currently, the booster programme is being organised and set up for over-50s, and it will likely take place over the coming winter.
Professor Harnden added: “We will be looking at that data very carefully.
“If it emerges that younger people are actually at risk greater than six months after vaccination, then we’ll adjust the booster programme accordingly, but there’s no need to do that at the moment.”
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