Once you have received the first vaccine, you will either be offered the chance to book an appointment from a range of slots or told when to attend for your second dose.
The NHS website states: “You will have the second dose three to 12 weeks after having the first dose.”
Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray today read out a message from Kelly Hoppen, who said she had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but some of her friends have now had their second dose appointments cancelled.
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He added he had “spoken to an expert about this previously, and they don’t think a few days either side of that 12 weeks will make a massive difference to your immune response.”
On December 30, 2020, the decision was made to give the second doses of the Covid vaccines towards the end of the 12 week period, rather than closer to three weeks.
In a letter to healthcare staff, NHS England said the decision had been taken to prioritise giving the first doses of vaccine to as many people as possible on the priority list to “protect the greatest number of at-risk people overall in the shortest possible time.”
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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.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the space between the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be over 42 days.
“Generally, a longer gap between vaccine doses leads to a better immune response, with the second dose causing a better boost.”
Mr Pollard told the British Medical Journal with HPV vaccine for girls, for example, the gap is a year and gives better responses than a one month gap.
He explained: “From the Oxford vaccine trials, there is 70 percent protection after the first dose up to the second dose, and the immune response was about three times greater after the second dose when the second dose was delayed, comparing second dose after four weeks versus second dose after two to three months.”
The first step would be to rebook your appointment as soon as you are able to do so.
If you are concerned about your vaccine, you can also contact the number given on any correspondence you have – whether this is a letter, text or email concerning your appointments.
On any correspondence from the NHS or your GP about the vaccine, there will be a contact number for appointment queries, rescheduling and booking appointments.
You can also use the NHS national booking service to cancel, book or reschedule vaccine appointments.