Over 100,000 people have signed a petition in protest of the UK’s decision to delay second vaccine shots for people receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines by up to 12 weeks.
According to change.org, the petition is currently gathering over 500 signatures a minute and is expected to rise above 200,000 signatures within a few hours.
The decision to delay the second vaccine shots, made on the recommendation of the UK’s joint committee on vaccinations and immunisation (JCVI), has sparked widespread concern amongst experts, healthcare professionals and the vaccine producers themselves.
In a joint statement, Pfizer and BioNTech said: “The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated on different dosing schedules as the majority of trial participants received the second dose within the window specified in the study design.
“There is no data to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days.”
Experts from the World Health Organisation have also expressed concern, highlighting that there is no scientific evidence for a delay of more than six weeks in administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid.
Debbie Oliver, an advanced nurse practitioner in Lancashire, started her change.org petition just a few days ago and it’s being shared widely across social media in a sign of public concern on the issue.
Debbie says: “We want the UK Government; Matt Hancock & NHS England to vaccinate frontline workers/vulnerable public with the evidence based dosing regime as per vaccine schedule not one they decide is better.
“We want 94% from Pfizer vaccine not 52% from one dose for 3 weeks only to be gambling with people’s lives after week 3 in the misguided hope half protection is better than none.
“UK Government you are letting down all those who put their lives on the line (and those who lost lives). Do the right things and put back the correct dosing regime as per study data.”
Commenting on the petition, Anne Honeyghan said “I consented to a vaccine that required two doses 21-35 days apart. I did not consent to a blind trial where Pfizer do not have any data to support the efficacy of the second dose administered 12 weeks apart. This is in breach of what I consented to.”
Jane Cowling adds “I am an NHS nurse currently giving the Pfizer vaccination to colleagues and was taught, during the training program, of the importance of the second vaccine in it’s crucial role of boosting the recipient’s immune response after the recommended 21-28 days.”