Vaccine: Expert discusses getting second jab before 12 weeks
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Covid vaccine walk-in centres are now open to those aged 18 and over to turn up and get a jab without an appointment. The vaccine hubs are open to people having their first dose but can also provide second jabs for the over-40s, who had their first at least eight weeks ago, or at least 12 weeks ago for the under 40s.
But experts have now warned about young people rushing to get their second jab, too soon after the first dose.
ITV’s Health Editor Emily Morgan explained: “There have been some reports today and over the weekend that some younger people are being offered their second dose sooner than the 12 weeks than they’re supposed to, or what the guidance is.
“I’ve certainly spoken to some people who have gone off to walk in centres, to stadiums, to get their second dose as early as four or five weeks after their first.
“They say they simply want to get protected as many of them have plans post the 19th July.”
She continued: “There isn’t anything particularly wrong or dangerous about doing this, but the guidance states very clearly that you wait 12 weeks after your first dose if you’re under 40.
“And there are many reasons why that guidance is in place.
“Perhaps most obviously is so the most vulnerable can be double dosed first.”
But secondly, and perhaps most importantly, said Morgan, the longer you wait between the first and second dose, the bigger and the better immune response you have – even if you’ve had the Pfizer vaccine.
She explained: “There’s overwhelming evidence now to suggest you get a higher level of antibodies if you wait longer.
“NHS England and the JCVI are aware of this, I’ve spoken to them this afternoon.
“I understand that many of them are frustrated, they want health officials on the ground to follow the guidance, and stop doing this.
“The JCVI is made up of some very eminent scientists who crunch this data every single day, and the advice is really clear – in the long run, it’s better to wait.”
Walk-in vaccination centres include the Newcastle Eagles basketball arena, Watford’s Vicarage Road, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Edgbaston cricket ground.
In addition to mass vaccination centres, there will be buses offering jabs in Dudley, Colchester, Ipswich and several other towns.
The government aims to have offered a first dose to all adults by July 19 and at least 65 percent of adults fully vaccinated – the date the final stage of lockdown easing is scheduled to go ahead.
More than 44 million people in the UK have received at least one dose.
Figures show 44 million – 83.7 percent of the adult population – have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 32 million – 61.2 percent – have had two doses.
A further 18,270 coronavirus cases in the UK were recorded on Saturday, according to the latest government figures, and there were a further 23 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
The number of new cases in the UK is rising, with Saturday’s figures the highest since early February.
Vaccine sites will be publicised locally so people can choose the location best for them, or they can type in their postcode to the NHS website to find their nearest site.
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