Ashford announces change in approach
The Department of Health and Social Care has chosen to extend the gap between delivering the two doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to up to ten weeks.
It's been confirmed by minister David Ashford today (23 Feb), following evidence from the UK which shows extending beyond the 28 days specification doesn't affect the 76 per cent efficacy of the first dose against symptomatic covid infection within three months.
That was the initial concern, but following a review by senior DHSC clinicians, the strategy is now to extend the gap between the two doses.
The change in approach means more people can receive the first dose earlier than planned, with officials now working to re-draw the vaccination schedule.
It won't affect those who already have appointments for the second dose of the Oxford vaccine.
The dose interval for the Pfizer vaccine will remain at 21 days, but this is subject to ongoing review.