UK’s Covid vaccine one dose plan ‘could leave over-60s seriously vulnerable’

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Britain's one vaccine dose plan could leave over-60s "seriously vulnerable" to coronavirus, scientists have warned.

Downing Street's decision to delay second doses of the jab by up to three months in an effort to partially protect more people could pose major problems.

Experts working on the first real-world analysis of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine said results fail to show a efficacy at levels close enough to justify delaying a second jab.

Israeli scientist Professor Ran Balicer said preliminary data from 200,000 inoculated patients above 60 has left he and colleagues "very hopeful" that an end is in sight.

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An Israeli volunteer receives the second dose of an experimental Israeli-made Covid-19 vaccine
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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The physician, epidemiologist and chief innovation officer for Clalit, the largest health care provider in Israel and World Health Organisation adviser told Sky News there is "no difference" between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people until day 14 post-jab.

However, trial data released last month by UK scientists suggesting the vaccine could be 89 percent effective after one dose does not appear to match real-world analysis.

The document issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had attempted to justify delaying second doses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have to rethink the vaccine rollout
(Image: Pippa Fowles / No10 Downing Street)

But Prof Balicer said: "We could not see 89 percent reduction in the data we reported. Further data and analyses will be released in peer reviewer scientific format."

The preliminary Israeli figure is closer to 33 percent.

He added: "The practice in Israel is to provide the second vaccine at three weeks.

"And so it is impossible for us to tell what would be the impact of not providing the second dose."

It comes after figures showed there are still 28 areas in England where the virus is surging, despite around 4 million having already received at least one jab.

The Government is being urged to end the vaccine postcode lottery as some of the hardest hit areas still haven't given jabs to over-80s.

Many of Britain's most elderly and vulnerable are still waiting to hear from their GP practice about getting their first shot, while others are being given appointments at vaccination centres up to 100 miles away.

And in some areas over-70s are being invited ahead of some over-80s and even over-90s.