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Vaccinating as many people as possible across Norfolk and Waveney

Across Norfolk and Waveney and in line with the rest of the country, it continues to be a key priority to ensure that patients are safe and as well as possible and receive their COVID-19 vaccine in line with the priority list published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The Medicines Health Regulation Authority (MHRA) has now approved three COVID-19 vaccines; two of which are available and being used to vaccinate individuals.

MHRA authorisation includes conditions that the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine should be administered in 2 doses, with the second dose given between 4 and 12 weeks after the first. The MHRA has also clarified that for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the interval between doses must be at least 3 weeks.

For both vaccines, data provided to MHRA demonstrate that while efficacy is optimised when a second dose is administered, both offer considerable protection after a single dose, at least in the short term. For both vaccines the second dose completes the course and is likely to be important for longer-term protection.

The JCVI has subsequently recommended that as many people on the JCVI priority list as possible should sequentially be offered a first vaccine dose as the initial priority. They have advised that the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be given between 3 to 12 weeks following the first dose, and that the second dose of the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine may be given between 4 to 12 weeks following the first dose. The clinical risk priority order for deployment of the vaccines remains unchanged and applies to both vaccines. Both are very effective vaccines.

England’s Chief Medical Officer agrees with the JCVI that at this stage of the pandemic prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time and will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and in protecting the NHS and equivalent health services.

In line with the national directive, second doses of both vaccines are being administered towards the end of the recommended vaccine dosing schedule of 12 weeks; this will maximise the number of people getting vaccine.

This means that many people that were booked in, three weeks after their first dose for their second vaccine, appointments will be booked in for a later date and will help us to vaccinate as many people in the priority cohorts with their first vaccine.

We recognise the inconvenience this may cause if you have had a second dose appointment cancelled, but it is important that we use current vaccine stock to vaccinate as many people as possible.

It is important to note that people who have had their first dose will not be forgotten about, they will be invited back for their second dose within the 12-week window.

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