COVID-19: UK ‘vindicated’ over ‘brave’ decision to delay second vaccine dose, WHO official says
Written by Hitmix News on 7 February 2021
The UK has been “vindicated” over its “brave” decision to offer vaccines doses up to three months apart, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy on COVID-19 has said.
Dr David Nabarro told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday the move had provided the rest of the world with a “great lesson”.
The UK went against the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) by choosing to offer a second jab between three and 12 weeks after the first dose.
Data from the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation has so far shown reasonably high levels of protection after the first dose.
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Dr Nabarro told Sky News: “The advice of the World Health Organisation on intervals between vaccine doses was based on what the manufacturers did in doing what we call the phase three trials of the vaccine and WHO and its committees really has to work on the basis of what manufacturers have told them – but isn’t it wonderful that it has turned out, as a result of the UK’s bravery frankly, that these extended intervals seems to be associated with greater protection.”
He added: “So, yes, I think the UK’s approach so far as been vindicated and yes, it has taught a great lesson for the rest of the world. Thank you, thank you British scientists.”
Asked whether the WHO could change its advice, Dr Nabarro said the organisation’s committee of experts is “meeting pretty often at the moment” and will “look again at the doses as a result of the UK’s experience”.
Dr Nabarro went on to say the government should consider sharing vaccine doses with poorer countries once all those over 50 in the UK have been inoculated.
The UK currently has 400 million vaccine doses on order – enough to vaccinate the population three times over.
Dr Nabarro said: “The situation is that we have some excellent vaccines that can stop people from dying. These vaccines can prevent health services from being overloaded and they are a fantastic invention.
“The world should be accessing these vaccines in an equal way because right now, health workers everywhere are at risk, older people are also at risk and the only way to deal with a global pandemic is to give fair shares across the world now.”
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He said 100 countries have signed up to the WHO’s vaccine-sharing Covax scheme, adding they were “ready to receive vaccines” and there was money available to buy doses.
Dr Nabarro also refused to rule out the theory the virus may have originated in a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
A WHO team is currently in Wuhan investigating the origins of the disease.
Dr Nabarro said: “There will be theories about how this virus originated including what we call a laboratory incident and that has to be assessed.
“I can’t rule anything out and I know the team on the spot, as well as those we’re talking to in China, they’re not ruling anything out either. All options are on the table and everything will be looked at.”