The waiting time between Covid jabs could be reduced from eight to four weeks as the country prepares to lift all restrictions on July 19, according to a new report.
The Government is keen to speed up vaccinations as the Delta variant continues to spread and have asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for advice on reducing the time between the two injections, The Sunday Times reported.
On Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced the gap between jabs would be reduced from 12 weeks to eight for all under-40s.
He told MPs the move amounted to ‘reinforcing our vaccine wall of defence further still’.
Public Health England says ‘there is evidence of better immune response and/or protection where longer intervals between doses are used’.
But the JCVI will need to balance this recommendation with the benefits of being fully inoculated when they issue advice on whether to reduce the interval again to four weeks.
It comes after Boris Johnson was warned it would be ‘dangerous’ to drop all restrictions on July 19 due to rising cases.
The rate of new coronavirus cases in most areas of England is now back at levels last seen during the winter.
Patient numbers have risen to levels last seen around three months ago.
And there has been a very slight increase in the average number of deaths reported each day of people in England who died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
But this is still far below the sort of numbers seen in January and February of this year.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We’ve only just heard in this bulletin about the rising numbers of cases, the rising numbers of people requiring hospital treatment, in intensive care and sadly deaths are starting to rise again, too.
‘There seems to be a misapprehension that life will return to normal from then (July 19), and that we can throw away all the precautions, and frankly, that would be dangerous.’
She said she had been ‘profoundly concerned’ over restrictions lifting.
Warning of the pressures already faced by medical staff, she added: ‘It feels in hospitals and GP surgeries as like the middle of winter in terms of how busy we are, rather than July, which would normally see a very low number of infections.’
Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) Government advisory panel told Times Radio that ‘there is a risk’ with the planned reopening.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said in a statement: “There is little doubt that things will get worse before they get better.”
Yesterday the UK reported 32,367 new COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
That compared with 35,707 cases and 29 deaths reported a day earlier.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.For more stories like this,check our news page.
Get your need-to-know
latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more
Thanks for reading the whole article. If you wish to get an daily update about Waiting time between Covid jabs ‘to be halved to four weeks’ , click on the bell button to subscribe for the notifications.