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Advice issued by JCVI on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends that both the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are safe and provide high-levels of protection against coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, including severe disease.


Advice issued by JCVI on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
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Dec 31, England: As protection is obtained around 2 weeks after the first vaccine dose, the committee recommends that vaccinating more people with the first dose is prioritised above offering others their second dose. This will provide the greatest public health benefits in the short term and save more lives.


The committee has reviewed the safety and efficacy data for the vaccine and advises that for those most at risk of death and serious illness from COVID-19, both the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are acceptably safe and effective. High levels of protection are obtained after the first dose of vaccine.


Also, read- UK Military to support Covid test of thousands of secondary school and college students in England


The current evidence remains that increasing age is the single greatest risk factor. Therefore, the current recommendation is that groups continue to be vaccinated in the following order:


Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers

  • All those 80 years of age and over, and health and social care workers

  • All those 75 years of age and over

  • All those 70 years of age and over, and individuals deemed clinically extremely vulnerable

  • All those 65 years of age and over

  • Adults aged 18 to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality

  • All those 60 years of age and over

  • All those 55 years of age and over

  • All those 50 years of age and over

This initial phase of the vaccine programme is estimated to cover around 99% of preventable COVID-19 deaths.


The JCVI advises that vaccinating more people with the first dose is prioritised above offering others their second dose, to maximise benefits from the vaccination programme in the short term.


Also, read- UK Military to support Covid test of thousands of secondary school and college students in England


For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the second vaccine dose can be offered between 3 to 12 weeks after the first dose. For the AstraZeneca vaccine, the second dose can be offered 4 to 12 weeks after the first dose.


There are some data from the AstraZeneca vaccine trials suggesting that extending the time to the second dose may be better than having the second dose earlier.


Skipping the second dose is not advised, as the second dose may be important for longer-lasting protection, however exact durations of protection are currently unknown.


Evidence from Phase 3 trials indicate high levels of protection against serious disease and death from around 2 weeks after the first dose.



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