Some family doctors in Britain said on Thursday that they would challenge the government’s order to postpone patients’ appointments for a second dose of coronavirus vaccine, a sign of discomfort in the medical community over Britain’s new plan to shots delay as a way to get more people the partial protection of a single dose.
British doctors, who have been instructed to start rescheduling the second dose of appointments for next week, said they were reluctant to ask older, vulnerable patients to wait an extra two months for their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine admissions. They said the patients relied on having full protection of two doses, that they had arranged caregivers to come to their doctors’ offices, and that it would be impossible for them to rely on a new and untested vaccination strategy.
In addition, it is logistically impossible to contact thousands of elderly patients within a few days and then fill it with first recipients.
The British Medical Association, a trade union for doctors, said on Thursday it would support doctors who decided to hold the second dose of appointments booked for January.
“It is tremendous and openly unfair for tens of thousands of our most dangerous patients to try to reschedule their appointments now,” said Dr. Richard Vautrey, chairman of the union’s GP committee, said in a statement. “The government needs to see that it is only right that existing discussions be honored for the oldest and most vulnerable members of our society, and it should also publish a scientifically validated justification for its new approach as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for the UK National Health Service said in a statement that the service provided GPs with ‘extra financial and logistical support’ to help ensure thousands received the vaccine more quickly. ‘
With the spread of a coronavirus vaccine starting in the US, here are answers to a few questions you can ask yourself:
- If I live in the United States, when can I get the vaccine? Although the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary by state, medical workers and residents of long-term care institutions are likely to be first. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help.
- When can I return to normal life after being vaccinated? Life will only become normal when society as a whole gets enough protection against the coronavirus. Once countries approve a vaccine, they will be able to vaccinate at most a few percent of their citizens in the first few months. The unvaccinated majority will still be vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines offer strong protection against disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, because they experience only mild symptoms or not at all. Scientists do not yet know whether the vaccination also blocks the transmission of the coronavirus. For now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, crowds inside, and so on. Must avoid. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will be difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people who can become infected. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach the goal, life may begin by the fall of 2021 to approach something as normal.
- Do I still have to wear a mask if I have been vaccinated? Yes, but not forever. Here’s why. The coronavirus vaccines are injected deep into the muscles and stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. This appears to be adequate protection to prevent the vaccinated person from becoming ill. But what is not clear is whether the virus could possibly flower in the nose – and be depleted or exhaled to infect others – even if antibodies are mobilized elsewhere in the body to prevent the vaccinated person from becoming ill. The clinical trials with vaccinations are designed to determine whether vaccinated people are protected against disease – not to find out if they can still spread the coronavirus. Based on studies on flu vaccine and even patients infected with Covid-19, researchers have reason to hope that people who have been vaccinated will not spread the virus, but more research is needed. Meanwhile, everyone – even vaccinated people – will have to think of themselves as possible silent distributors and continue to wear a mask. Read more here.
- Will it hurt? What are the side effects? The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is delivered like a shot in the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection into your arm will not feel different from any other vaccine, but the rate of transient side effects may seem higher than a flu shot. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported serious health problems. The side effects, which may look like the symptoms of Covid-19, last for about a day and are more likely to occur after the second dose. Early reports of vaccination trials suggest that some people may have to take a day off from work because they feel unwell after receiving the second dose. In the Pfizer study, about half developed fatigue. Other side effects occurred in at least 25 to 33 percent of patients, sometimes more, including headache, chills, and muscle aches. Although these experiences are not pleasant, it is a good sign that your immune system is getting a powerful response to the vaccine that will provide long-lasting immunity.
- Will mRNA vaccines change my genes? No. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to replenish the immune system. That molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell so that the molecule can slide. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. Each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules at any one time that they produce to make their own proteins. Once those proteins are made, our cells cut the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules that make up our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the cells’ enzymes a little longer, allowing the cells to make extra viral proteins and trigger a stronger immune response. But the mRNA can only take a few days at most before being destroyed.
“The NHS must follow the new guidelines,” the statement said, “to increase the number of vulnerable people protected from Covid over the next three months, which could save thousands of lives.”
The postponement of the second vaccine dose could double the number of people who will soon get a shot and eventually ease the toll of the virus in Britain, where hospitals face a deluge of cases of a new and more contagious coronavirus variant come. While one might be better off getting the second dose right away, some scientists have said that society as a whole will benefit if more people get the partial protection of a single dose for the time being.
However, other scientists believe that Britain has exceeded the available evidence, and that older people and health workers could possibly leave the full protection of two vaccine doses amid the terrible winter push. Britain made the decision without the public meetings or extensive briefings that preceded U.S. regulatory decisions. No trials have explicitly tested the effectiveness of a single shot.
And what limited evidence exists about the protection offered by a single dose has clashed with scientists’ fears that antibody responses would diminish over time and possibly fall below a protective threshold.
Some GPs in Britain have said they are uncomfortable with a lack of evidence showing that patients will be protected against Covid-19 for weeks after a single ingestion of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“I have been instructed to break my promise to my elderly patients,” said Dr. Helen Salisbury, a family doctor in Oxford, Said on Twitter on Thursday morning, “And use a vaccine outside the evidence and approved schedule, which is likely to jeopardize it.”