UK Plans To Delay 2nd Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine; Here's Why

Coronavirus Vaccine Updates WHO grants'validation for emergency use to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Owned by a Turkish immigrant to Germany, the startup has led the vaccine race but its shot has been slow to arrive in the European Union because of relatively late approval from the bloc's health regulator and the small size of the order placed by Brussels.

"WHO and our partners are working night and day to evaluate other vaccines that have reached safety and efficacy standards", Simao said.

But the new advice has still raised eyebrows in the scientific community.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said mixing the vaccines without any data is a "huge gamble". "UK officials seem to have given up on science completely now and are just trying to find a way out". "That will enable us to vaccinate more people", he added.

The UK, which has surpassed 2.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, is battling a surge in infections as a more contagious variant sweeps across the country - prompting at least 17 countries to announce British travel bans.

The emergency use listing (EUL) procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies and has the objective of making medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality.

However, the protocol does reiterate that receiving a second dose of the same vaccination is preferable, noting that a different inoculation should only be used if the patient is at "immediate high risk" or is considered "unlikely to attend again". Because both vaccines target the spike protein of the coronavirus, "it is likely the second dose will help to boost the response to the first dose".

"Drawing from WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) population prioritisation recommendations for Covid-19 vaccines, which were issued in September, the group will convene on Jan 5 to formulate vaccine specific policies and recommendations".

The government's new guidelines said there "is no evidence on the interchangeability of the COVID-19 vaccines although studies are underway". "We're kind of in this Wild West".

This vaccine, like the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, requires two doses.

"While decisions on alternative dosing regimens reside with health authorities, Pfizer believes it is critical health authorities conduct surveillance efforts on any alternative schedules implemented and to ensure each recipient is afforded the maximum possible protection, which means immunization with two doses of the vaccine", Danehy said.

In particular, United Kingdom public health officials have drawn attention to the similarities between the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, both of which target the virus spike protein.