NHS staff delivering coronavirus vaccinations to thousands of vulnerable patients have been told they can get an extra dose out of the vials to help stretch supplies even further.
Regulators have approved a plan to try and help make sure as many at risk patients as possible can get the vaccine in the coming weeks.
NHS England’s chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has said he hoped all vulnerable people would be offered a vaccine by late spring. He did not set a specific timetable but a recent study suggests the UK needs to be vaccinating as many as 2 million people a week.
There has been widespread speculation that the Oxford University AstraZenca vaccine will be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) this week.
GPs were told they could stretch the doses to six in a webinar by senior NHS England staff earlier in December but now the MHRA has approved the use.
Until more vaccine is available, official guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care to NHS staff and GPs, which was published on Christmas Eve, said a sixth dose could be possible from the small vials which contain the Pfizer vaccine.
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