In light of the recently updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and national public health authorities on vaccination priority and increasing the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, representatives of the UK Royal Surgical Colleges, the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations, and Upper Airway Group have issued the following statement:
“We are in agreement that the risk of COVID infection to all patient-facing staff remains severe, particularly now the new variant is predominant.
“The JCVI’s decision to lengthen the period between doses of the vaccine was taken after the most rigorous actuarial assessment of risk-benefit to the population as a whole. Public health advice is clear that this approach should save substantially more lives than if second doses were given as initially scheduled.
“The profound concerns of some in the surgical community around not being offered the increased protection of a second dose are greatly respected and understood, however, they must be considered alongside evidence that significant protection is generated after a single dose.
“We remain confident that the national public health authorities and JCVI are not only using all available evidence to determine the most equitable and rapid distribution of the available vaccines, but that they are also listening carefully to all concerns raised about the risks presented to all groups in our society. We respect the expertise of government advisers in making difficult judgements on how to minimise death rates during this pandemic.
“We urge all in surgical teams to support the national effort to defeat this virus and maintain clear communication with your Colleges and Specialty Associations as new insights develop to help this battle.”
Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow