Thursday, 27 May 2021
Covid-19 Vaccine Roll-out: Statements
The UK has reduced the interval between AstraZeneca vaccines from 12 weeks to eight for people aged 50 and above. I discussed the matter with public health officials last night and it was pointed out that, logistically, pretty much all of our AstraZeneca volume is already committed to second doses. For some cohorts, the interval between jabs had gone from 12 to 16 weeks. NIAC put that in place to be able to gather further information and, having had that extra time, the interval has gone back to 12 weeks. With all of our AstraZeneca doses now fully committed to the administration of a second dose after 12 weeks, it will probably leave some people waiting for 16 weeks. The best thing to do from an operational perspective is to stick with the 12-week interval because that is how the doses have been programmed. That way, we get as many vaccines as possible out the door and will be holding only enough to ensure we can get everyone a second dose within the 12 weeks. As I discussed with Deputy Cullinane earlier, there are ongoing uncertainties about what is going to arrive from AstraZeneca in the coming weeks so we must leave a bit of room for safety. I will revert to the Deputy in writing on his other questions.