The new strain of the COVID19 is taking a toll on the immunization program in the UK. In the wake of increasing cases of the new variant, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that the government should consider giving only one shot of the COVID19 vaccine to people to contain the spread of the virus. He has said that by giving only one dose of the vaccine, a larger population can be vaccinated quite quickly, hence it will help contain the transmission. Former Head of Immunization program Professor David Salisbury has also supported the idea. He has said that people will get attain only four percent extra immunity by getting the second dose. One dose of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine has a 91 percent efficiency rate and the second dose shoots up the immunity rate by 95 percent. However, some scientists have said that Tony Blair’s idea is too risky as per the minimal trial data on how effective the vaccine is with a single dose. Some sources in the UK government have said that the government is thinking of trying the option of a single dose of the vaccine.
The British government has been doing talks with the UK Medicines regulators after the former prime minister has suggested the idea of vaccinating people with a single shot of the vaccine. The government has been exploring the ways and means to work on the idea. The UK is the first country, which has approved Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for licensed use across the nation. Ideally, the vaccine is to be given in two shots with a gap of 21 days in between. The UK government has not decided whether it would be more efficient to vaccinate people with a single dose and worry about the second dose later. Experts have said that the logistics involved in immunizing the whole population with two doses of the vaccine is quite daunting. Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at super freezing temperature. As per the world data, around seven hundred forty thousand people have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine across the world. Nearly 2.4 million people have been given two doses of the vaccine. It takes months to prioritize people who are in the high-risk category. Therefore, it can take a long time to immunize the whole population. Tony Blair has said that all available vaccines should be used to vaccinate people with the first dose of the vaccine.
Pfizer has claimed that the vaccine has been 95 percent efficient in preventing the disease 28 days after the first dose at the time when two doses of the vaccine have been given in the trial. Professor Peter Horby from the University of Oxford has said that the existing data support two doses of the vaccine, hence it is not advisable to think that one dose of the vaccine is as good as two doses. He has said that it will be quite hard to identify the population, which needs to be vaccinated with one dose of the vaccine to shrink the spread of the virus. Some experts have said that though the idea seems interesting, at the same time, it is too dangerous. Dr. Peter Openshaw from the Experimental Medicines at Imperial College London has said that though the new proposal makes sense, however, it is uncertain how long the immunity from one dose will last.