An Oxford GP has hit out at Health Secretary Matt Hancock for a change to when patients will get their second dose of the Pfizer Covid jab.

Dr Helen Salisbury, who works at Observatory Medical Practice in Jericho, last night tweeted: "Can I ask @MattHancock to come & do a shift on our phones, ringing our 80+ pts to explain that their 2nd dose of vaccine has been cancelled?

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"Our PCN [Primary Care Network] needs to cancel 1160 appts & rebook another 1160.

"At 5 mins per phone call, that's 193 hours work. Not to mention the grief & anger."

The tweet, which has already been liked more than 9,000 times, came in response to revised guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) following the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday.

Both the Oxford jab and Pfizer, which has already began a mass rollout in the UK, are approved for use in two doses.

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The MHRA authorisation includes the condition the Oxford vaccine doses must be between four and 12 weeks apart.

It also increased the 21 day gap for the Pfizer jab, which is also now up to 12 weeks.

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One person commented their surgery had automatic SMS texts and email notifications, but Dr Salisbury responded: "A large number of my patients in the 80+ group do not access mobile phones or email.

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"Also, they may have some questions about why the schedule has been changed, efficacy, dates of future doses - to which I don't have answers."

A joint statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers yesterday said the JCVI recommended that as many people in the most vulnerable groups should be offered a first vaccine dose as a first priority.

Oxford Mail:

It added the Chief Medical Officers agreed with the JCVI that 'at this stage of the pandemic' prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will "protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time and will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and in protecting the NHS and equivalent health services."

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The statement continued: "Operationally this will mean that second doses of both vaccines will be administered towards the end of the recommended vaccine dosing schedule of 12 weeks.

"This will maximise the number of people getting vaccine and therefore receiving protection in the next 12 weeks."

It also stressed for both vaccines, data provided to MHRA demonstrated that while efficacy is 'optimised' when a second dose is administered, both offer 'considerable protection' after a single dose, at least in the short term.

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