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What has happened so far today, Saturday 23 January

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British Medical Association wants gap between vaccine jabs shortened

The BBC is reporting that the British Medical Association has written to the UK government’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, calling for the gap between jabs of the Pfizer vaccine to be shortened.

The private letter, seen by the BBC, says the current plans of people waiting up to 12 weeks for a second dose – which the health secretary, Matt Hancock, says is supported by data from an Israeli study – are “difficult to justify”.

The BMA letter says: “The absence of any international support for the UK’s approach is a cause of deep concern and risks undermining public and the profession’s trust in the vaccination programme.”

Bridget Connolly receives the first of her two jabs of the Pfizer vaccine from a member of the Newham Health Trust team in London on 7 January

Bridget Connolly receives the first of her two jabs of the Pfizer vaccine from a member of the Newham Health Trust team in London on 7 January. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The government says the gap between doses was extended from three to 12 weeks to increase the number of people getting the vaccine. Prof Whitty described it on Friday as a “public health decision” that would allow “many more people to be vaccinated much more quickly”.

In early January we reported that experts from the World Health Organization said there was no scientific evidence for a delay of more than six weeks in administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

You can read our full story on that here.

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