the U.K.’s four chief medical officers have written to medical colleagues across the country explaining the decision to focus the vaccine rollout on giving the first dose to as many people as possible.

The plan, outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunizations (JCVI) is based on the current limited availability of vaccine doses and the need to quickly start getting on top of high rates of COVID in the vulnerable population.

“We have to ensure that we maximise the number of eligible people who receive the vaccine,” they write. “Currently the main barrier to this is vaccine availability, a global issue, and this will remain the case for several months and, importantly, through the critical winter period … Vaccine shortage is a reality that cannot be wished away.”

They also say they are “confident,” based on publicly available data and data available to the JCVI, “that the first dose of either Pfizer or AZ vaccine provides substantial protection within 2-3 weeks of vaccination for clinical disease, and in particular severe COVID disease.”

Around 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jab will be available for use next week


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