Longer delay between Covid jabs could give 'better immunity', JCVI member says

26 January 2021, 19:12 | Updated: 26 January 2021, 20:41

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Leaving more time between Covid vaccine doses could provide "better immunity", a JCVI member has told LBC.

Professor Robert Read, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), was discussing people's concerns over the current 12-week gap between coronavirus jabs with Eddie Mair.

The health expert sought to reassure the public that there is "plenty of evidence" that most protection against Covid-19 comes from the initial shot.

He told Eddie that "there's no biological reason why that protection shouldn't persist well beyond the three-week and the six-week point following the jab".

Responding to anxiety around extending the gap to 12 weeks, Prof Read said: "What we do know is that it's best to have that second jab, but it's probably not critical whether it's at three weeks, six weeks, nine weeks or 12 weeks.

"In fact, there's quite good evidence that the longer you leave that second jab for, certainly with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the better the immunity you get from it."

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Prof Robert Read told LBC a vaccine dose delay could be beneficial
Prof Robert Read told LBC a vaccine dose delay could be beneficial. Picture: PA / LBC

The professor said scientists are looking at the delay between first and second jobs as it may be "beneficial for our population" and could make delivering the vaccine rollout both "easier" and "better".

"It means we can vaccinate twice as many people as we would do if we had to stick to the three-week point for the booster," he told LBC.

Prof Read also explained how the priority list is determined for administering the coronavirus vaccine.

"Our priority is to prevent hospitalisation and death," he said, "the way to do it is to vaccinate all of those people that you've heard about in the first nine tiers, so down to the 50-year-olds.

"If we can get down to the 50-year-olds and all of the people with comorbidities and other health problems, we stand a chance of ablating 99 per cent of hospitalisations and deaths that we're seeing."

But he confirmed that, for now, the JCVI is still focusing on vaccinating the top nine tiers first.

You can watch the full interview between Eddie Mair and Professor Read in the video above.

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