Press release: HCSA urges U-turn on chaotic vaccine delay plans

HCSA – the hospital doctors’ union has urged hospitals to deliver the vital second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine within 28 days as planned following an “ill-thought-out” policy U-turn which leaves vulnerable staff in limbo.

HCSA General Secretary Dr Paul Donaldson said: "There is a notable difference between the timing of the second dose of the new Oxford vaccine, which the manufacturers AstraZeneca state can be administered later, and the Pfizer vaccine where there is no evidence of the efficacy of doing so past 28 days. 

"While a planned and orderly deployment of the Oxford vaccination including longer timelines makes epidemiological sense, the decision to throw a spanner in the works of the existing Pfizer rollout appears simply bizarre unless there is an unknown hitch in supply.

"We are hearing that vulnerable hospital doctors at high risk from Covid have been told not to turn up for their second dose and therefore will not receive full protection. They are now left in limbo by a hastily formulated policy which seems extremely ill thought out.

"This follows an earlier U-turn on plans to prioritise all NHS staff for vaccinations which in the face of a vicious upsurge of this virus needs to be reviewed. 

"This chaotic approach is creating huge anxiety on the ground and is illogical in the face of a lengthy second wave of Covid-19 which threatens to take a high percentage of staff away from the front line through sickness or self-isolation.

"HCSA is urging NHS Employers and the Department of Health to come to their senses and go ahead with the second jabs of the Pfizer vaccine for all vulnerable NHS staff within 28 days of the first.

"Front-line healthcare workers must be a priority too as the Oxford vaccine is rolled out."