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Covid vaccine: Can you get the second dose too early?

A nurse administers a vaccine to a woman; both wear masks

Vaccinations are available to everyone over 18 (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

People across the country are hoping to become fully vaccinated as soon as possible, as most over-18s have now had their first jab in the UK, and hospital admissions are falling as a result.

There have been reports that quarantine-free travel may be allowed for double-jabbed holidaymakers, too.

As the Delta variant continues to spread, however, getting your second dose of antibodies is increasingly important.

But can you get your second dose too early?

Can you get the second dose too early?

Official advice doesn’t expressly state that you can have the second dose too early.

However, a government scientific advisor has said that a four week gap isn’t enough, and that eight weeks is the ‘sweet spot’.

People queue outside Tottenham Hotspur's football stadium to receive a dose covid-19 vaccine

Walk-in centres have been set up across the country (Picture: Will Edwards/Getty))

Prof. Anthony Harnden told the BBC that ‘the data suggests very strongly that the longer you leave that second dose, the better longer term protection you will have.

‘There is a sort of sweet spot from about eight weeks onwards, and we wouldn’t advise anybody to really have the second dose before then.’

Walk-in centres have opened up across the UK in recent weeks in order to speed up the rollout process.

Professor Harnden says he ‘wants vaccines in arms, not in fridges’, and understands that many people don’t want jabs to be thrown away.

The NHS website allows you to book vaccinations once you’ve been contacted about your jab. You can manage your first and second jab via the portal once you’ve received an email, text or letter.

The NHS currently recommend getting the second dose 8 to 12 weeks after the first.

Many are hoping that their vaccination status will allow them to travel. Angela Merkel has said that double-jabbed Brits will soon be able to visit Germany, although Malta isn’t accepting the NHS app as a vaccine passport.

Some reports suggest that those who had the AstraZeneca jab might be barred from Europe for longer than those with other vaccine types, depending on the vaccine batch number.

Current plans allow people to travel with an EU Digital Covid Certificate – which lets those who are full vaccinated, recently tested or recovered to travel across the continent without having to quarantine.

However, it only recognises doses approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which currently includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in the UK or Europe.

Some of the does of AstraZeneca administered in the UK were made by Covishield at the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The EMA has not approved the SII jabs as the manufacturers are yet to seek a licence for the product in Europe.

People will be able to see whether they have had one of the SII jabs by checking the batch number, which is included on vaccine cards and in the Covid travel pass accessible via the NHS app.

Those are 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003.


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