The U.K. Is Taking Controversial Steps With Covid-19 Vaccines
Experts are debating the one-dose approach and the decision to mix different vaccines
The situation in the U.K. is dire. So far, 57,725 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 in one day, a record number since the beginning of the pandemic. There are hundreds of new victims every day; December 30 saw 981 deaths.
“I do cry my way to work at the moment because of just how bad things are to come,” Suzanne Barke, an intensive care unit nurse said.
“Hospitals are running out of oxygen. … NHS staff are at a breaking point. This is not a drill. Please believe us,” Dr. Samantha Batt-Rawdem, a critical care doctor and president of the Doctor’s Association U.K. tweeted.
The situation is even more concerning considering the fact that the numbers should be drastically lower at this point. The U.K. entered a full second lockdown during November for the purpose of getting back control over the spread of the virus before the holidays. Then came the new Covid-19 variant, and instead of dropping, the numbers kept rising.
The Pfizer vaccine rolled out on December 8. There were logistical problems, and in the three weeks that followed, a million people in the U.K. received the first vaccine dose. It’s not enough; the vaccination rate is not catching up with the spread of the virus.
This is the frame to be taken into account when discussing the two interesting and controversial decisions recently made by the U.K. government.
Decision 1: A longer time between doses
All three of the available western vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca are based on a two-dose regime. In Pfizer’s case, the recommended interval between the first and second vaccine dose is 21 days. In AstraZeneca’s experiment, the second dose was given “at least a month” after the first dose.