Half of Scots concerned about 12-week gap between Covid-19 vaccine doses

Half of all Scots are concerned about the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) decision to recommend a gap of 12 weeks between when people receive the first and second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, a new poll has found.

The delay to the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is concerning half of Scots.
The delay to the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is concerning half of Scots.

The poll for The Scotsman by Savanta ComRes suggests it is the top concern of Scots around the vaccine roll-out.

A total of 1,016 Scottish adults aged 16 or over were interviewed online between January 8 and 13 to complete the survey.

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When asked whether they were concerned about the decision of the UK’s chief medical officers to delay the second dose of the vaccine for up to 12 weeks, almost one in five (19 per cent) said the decision ‘greatly concerned’ them.

A further 31 per cent, or almost one in three Scots, said it “concerns me somewhat” when asked by pollsters.

Pfizer say they don’t have evidence of the impact on immunity past three weeks after the first dose, while the World Health Organisation recommends the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is given no later than six weeks after the first.

The JCVI argues the AstraZeneca vaccine offers 73 per cent protection after three weeks, with the Pfizer vaccine 52 per cent effective.

However, in a joint statement at the end of December, the chief medical officers of each UK nation defended the move.

They said: “The second vaccine dose is likely to be very important for duration of protection, and at an appropriate dose interval may further increase vaccine efficacy.

"In the short term, the additional increase of vaccine efficacy from the second dose is likely to be modest. The great majority of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine."

Overall, confidence in the Covid-19 vaccine has improved since December, with more people “keen” to receive the jag.

In December, 55 per cent of Scots were keen to get the jag, but this has risen to over two thirds (64 per cent) in January.

Around two thirds of people (61 per cent) are now happy with the pace of development compared to 53 per cent in December.

Chris Hopkins, associate director at SavantaComRes, said the figures suggested messaging around the vaccine’s safety was working.

He said: "Since the vaccine roll-out has begun in earnest across Scotland, we see a nine point rise in those who say they are keen to receive the vaccine, while those who say they are reluctant is down four points from last month.

"These figures are broadly in line with the rest of the UK, and is an indication that the messaging around the vaccine’s safety and importance appears to be working.”

In addition, Scots are now more supportive of stricter measures around vaccines.

More than three quarters support holiday-makers coming from or to the UK having proof of vaccination before being allowed in to countries (up 23 and 16 points respectively), and 59 per cent are supportive of ‘vaccine passports’ allowing access to pubs and restaurants (up 12 points).

A similar proportion are supportive of pubs and restaurants being able to bar non-vaccinated people from entry, while net support for making it illegal to not have the Covid-19 vaccine has seen a 21 point increase to around 1 per cent in favour.

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