London: After more than 9 lakh people were given the first shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, the authorities there are planning to delay the second dose for up to 12 weeks in a bid to bring some immunity to more people in the first run.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) believes that this strategy will help check the surging death rate which is nearing 1,000 a day.
However, Pfizer has stated that there is no data to show the level of protection after 21 days of the first vaccine. “Pfizer and BioNTech’s Phase 3 study for the COVID-19 vaccine was designed to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and efficacy following a 2-dose schedule, separated by 21 days,” the drugmaker said.
The UK has also approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which is also given in two shots 4 weeks apart. The Phase 3 trials of this vaccine showed no hospitalizations or severe disease in the vaccinated groups 3 weeks after the first dose.
The government is planning to immunize all 25 million people in its 9 priority groups by late spring.