COVID-19 : The UK’s ambitious vaccination plan

The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to start vaccinating, it is one of the most advanced in the vaccination process, and also pretends to be one of the first, or even the first, to finish it. And for it Boris Johnson, the country’s prime minister, has announced an ambitious plan that if it can be achieved it will be something historic. Before the end of July he wants to have vaccinated the entire adult population of the country.

“We have proposed to offer a vaccine to all adults by the end of July, which will help us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and we will take more measures to ease some of the restrictions in place, ”Johnson explained. So far 17 million people have already received the first dose, that is, one in three adults.

And to achieve that goal, The first objective will be to vaccinate adults over 50 and those with health problems before April 15.

Bet on delaying the second dose

One of the riskiest decisions made by the United Kingdom has been to betting everything on the first dose, trying to reach as many people as possible, and delaying injecting the second dose. Thus, instead of administering the vaccines in two doses with a fixed period of 21 days, something recommended with the one from Pfizer, you have chosen to delay it for up to three months, or 12 weeks.

The objective, to achieve some immunity in the largest number of people, thus avoiding serious coronavirus situations or leaving complete immunity for later. “We recommend that the distribution of a first dose be prioritized initially, because it is highly probable that a greater short-term impact on public health will be achieved, thus reducing the number of deaths foreseeable by COVID-19, “stated the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunology (JCVI).

This decision, difficult to make and which most countries renounce, is advised by the experts. In a letter published in The New England Journal of (NEJM) Medicine, Danuta Skowronski, Chief of Influenza Epidemiology and Emerging Respiratory Pathogens at the British Columbia Center for Disease Control (BCCDC) of Canada, and Gaston De Serres, epidemiologist at the Québec National Institute of Public Health, They urged governments to delay the administration of the second dose and give priority to the first due to the existing shortage.

“With such a protective first dose, the benefits from a poor vaccine supply could be maximized by deferring second doses until all members of the priority group are offered at least one dose.”they explained. “Administering a second dose within a month after the first, as recommended, provides little additional benefit in the short term,” they added.

Johnson’s de-escalation plan

Boris Johnson, within his strategy to end the pandemic in the United Kingdom, after a few complicated weeks, is going to announce a plan to lift the lockdown, which is expected to be the last, and which will include the reopening of schools. Since the beginning of January, the country was confined by the bad trend of infections and deaths from coronavirus.

A little over a month later, confinement and vaccination have taken effect and the numbers of infections, deaths and hospitalizations have fallen. Thus, This afternoon the de-escalation plan will be made official, which Johnson himself already announced will be “prudent” and “progressive”.

The schools will open from March 8. “Our priority has always been to get children back to school, which is crucial to their education as well as their mental and physical well-being,” Johnson said.