Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth, has pressed the Prime Minister to review the 15-minute wait for those receiving the Pfizer vaccine, raising the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions today (8 Dec), with the aim of freeing up thousands of hours of NHS time, and speeding up the booster rollout.
Currently, those who are given the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine are asked to wait for 15 minutes after receiving it. This was first introduced as a precautionary measure, following concerns that a small percentage of people may have an adverse reaction to the vaccine. The NHS website, however, advises that it is “very rare to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine”.
Dr Luke has asked the Prime Minister if the safety data on this can be reviewed with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and if safe to do so, whether the 15-minute wait can be reduced, or dropped entirely.
Allowing people to leave immediately after receiving their vaccine would help to free up thousands of NHS hours, improve capacity, reduce cost, and would significantly help to speed up the rollout of the booster vaccine, which is particularly important given recent developments in Europe.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Dr Luke said: “We know that booster vaccines are essential in our fight against Covid. Speaking to clinical colleagues, one of the biggest hindrances is the 15 minutes people have to wait post-Pfizer; if we could reduce that, or take that away, it could release thousands of hours of clinicians time - so will the Prime Minister ask the MHRA and the JVCI to look to see if it is safe to do so?”
In response, the Prime Minister said Dr Luke raises “a very good point” and that the Government is “in the process of reviewing the 15-minute waiting requirement for both booster doses” and will “continue to be guided by the JVCI, and the MHRA”.
In September, Dr Luke raised the issue in Parliament with the Health Secretary. In response, Sajid Javid said that the Government would analyse the data available and “see if we can make any difference to the way we administer the vaccine”.
Speaking after PMQs, the Bosworth MP said: “Up and down the country, the NHS has done a fantastic job rolling out the first, second and now third doses of the vaccine. Nurses, GPs and volunteers have all worked tirelessly to get us vaccinated and protected from this virus.”
“As we look towards Christmas, the booster rollout is going to be particularly important in ensuring that we have a safe festive season, so it’s vital that we look at all options for speeding this process up. If the data shows that it is safe to do so, dropping the 15-minute wait, especially for those who have safely had 2 Pfizer jabs with minimal side effects, would allow those sites administering the vaccine to increase their capacity, save NHS time, and, most importantly, get more people jabbed ahead of Christmas.”
“I am pleased that the Department of Health, and now the Prime Minister, have started a review of the data and will be eagerly following this up with the hope of a response that will be welcomed by clinicians, vaccinators and the public alike.”