Some family doctors in Britain said on Thursday that they would defy the government’s mandate to push back patients’ appointments for a second dose of coronavirus vaccine, a sign of discomfort in the medical community over Britain’s new plan to to delay shots as a way to give. more people the partial protection of a single dose.
British doctors, who have been instructed to start recreating the appointment of two-dose appointments for next week, have said they are reluctant to ask older, vulnerable patients to wait another two months for their Pfizer-BioNTech shots. vaccine. They said that the patients were counting on getting the full protection of two doses, and that their caregivers had arranged to help their doctor’s offices, and that it would be impossible for them to afford to rely on a new and untested vaccination strategy.
In addition, doctors said it was logistically impossible to contact thousands of elderly patients within days and then fill the slots with first recipients.
The British Medical Association, a trade union for doctors, said on Thursday it would support doctors who had decided to hold two-dose appointments scheduled 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.”
Britain’s national health service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The postponement of the second vaccine doses could double the number of people eligible for shots in the coming weeks and eventually ease the toll of the virus in Britain, where hospitals are facing a deluge of cases of a new and more contagious coronavirus variant. come to a standstill. Some scientists say that one person may be better off with the full two doses, but society as a whole has benefited if more people get the partial protection of a single dose for the time being.
But other scientists believe that Britain has exceeded the available evidence, and that older people and health care workers may be leaving full protection of two doses of vaccine amid the terrible winter boom. 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.”