The requirement for patients to stay behind for a 15-minute observation period after their Pfizer or Moderna Covid vaccination could be scrapped in the ‘next few days’.
Speaking at an all-systems briefing on the stepping up of the booster programme over the next few weeks, UK chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the CMOs ‘have been looking at this repeatedly over the weekend’ and ‘consulting with others’, ‘including, importantly, MHRA’.
This comes as NHS England primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani said last week that MHRA had given a ‘clear steer’ that the requirement was not being scrapped ‘at this time’.
However, since the then Prime Minister announced the ‘turbo-charged’ booster vaccination programme, with the online briefing seeing numerous delegates asking whether the requirement would be lifted so that footfall at vaccination centres could be increased.
Professor Whitty said that the medical experts are ‘looking at the potential risks on anaphylaxis’ and ‘trying to balance risk’.
And he added: ‘I think we are now getting to a point where I think everybody’s kind of lined up at the same place. I hope that will happen over the next few days.’
He said that ‘as soon as there is a clear decision’ this ‘will be communicated, because we all are aware of the operational issues it causes’.
It follows BMA England’s GP Committee lobbying the MHRA for the removal of the requirement to observe patients for 15 minutes after vaccination with the Pfizer Covid jab.
The observation period was introduced in the first week of the vaccine rollout, following news that two healthcare professionals that were vaccinated on the first day with the Pfizer vaccine suffered an allergic reaction.