Waits for second Covid jabs on target in our region

Audrey Burton, 97, receiving her COVID-19 vaccination at the Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in No

How long have you been asked to wait for your second Covid vaccine? - Credit: Danielle Booden

A large proportion of people in Norfolk and Waveney have reported waiting times of between 10 and 12 weeks for their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. 

Patients at different stages of the vaccination process say they have not been asked to wait more than 84 days for their second jabs, the maximum period recommended by health bosses.

One of the vaccination stations at the new vaccination centre at Bowthorpe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Covid vaccination programme is well under way across Norfolk and Waveney - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2021

It comes after senior doctors called for the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer product to be reduced to a maximum of six weeks. 

Last month, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) adjusted its advice on how soon people should get their second doses, from 21 days to "within 12 weeks". 

The UK's four chief medical officers therefore changed the focus of the vaccination programme to ensure priority groups receive their first doses as soon as possible.

And that target is reflected by appointments given to EDP readers, who we asked to get in touch regarding their own experiences.

Lisa-Marie Leggett, who lives in Norwich, received her first dose of the vaccine on Saturday (January 23), with her follow-up due on April 5.

The 44-year-old is eligible for a jab due to her work as a carer and is also deemed clinically extremely vulnerable, meaning she is currently shielding. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

How long have you been asked to wait for your second Covid vaccine? - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2021

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Miss Leggett said: "I would like to have the second dose sooner - as was recommended in the beginning - but what can you do?

"Having to shield means I have had a lot of time off work. There's nothing that can be done about it but, at the same time, I am keen to get back to normality." 

In recent days, the British Medical Association said bringing second Pfizer jabs forward would ensure the vaccine is effective. 

While initial doses are said to offer "considerable protection" in the short term, second jabs provide long-term immunisation. 

Jim Hough, from Fakenham, is due to wait 12 weeks for a second jab, but the 71-year-old believes the interval is "far too long". 

He added: "I appreciate why they are doing it. But when the actual Pfizer trial had a three-week gap, it makes you slightly worried.

Jim Hough, from Fakenham, with his wife Sylvia. Mr Hough thinks the 12-week wait for a second Covid vaccine is too long

Jim Hough, from Fakenham, with his wife Sylvia. Mr Hough thinks the 12-week wait for a second Covid vaccine is too long - Credit: Jim Hough

"They are talking about the date for sending children back to school but, if I'm not going to be safe until April, how long will it be for teachers?"

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of Norfolk and Waveney CCG, has previously praised the "immense effort" of everyone involved in the roll-out, labelling it "a marathon, not a sprint."

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