FRONTLINE health workers who have had a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine should receive a second dose within six weeks, says the body representing doctors in Wales.

The British Medical Assocation (BMA) Cymru Wales wants the Welsh Government to stick to the maximum 42-day timeline for first and second doses, used in the original trial of the vaccine - which began to be used in Wales and the rest of the UK last month - and in line with World Health Organisation guidance.

And it is also calling for all remaining vaccinations for staff to be speeded up to ensure maximum protection for staff and patients.

It believes this is essential in order to protect an already depleted workforce, and to help prevent the NHS becoming overwhelmed in the next few weeks.

BMA Cymru Wales has already condemned a disparity in vaccination roll-out for staff in different health boards in Wales, claiming that while some areas are moving forward with vaccinations, there are others where staff are unable to get through on email or phone lines, and are left in the dark about when they can get a vaccine.

Gwent GP Dr David Bailey, who chairs the BMA's Welsh Council, said that despite calls for health board vaccination plans to be published, and for improved communication to staff on the ground, "doctors and other healthcare professionals are still struggling to access vaccinations in some parts of Wales and there is a complete lack of transparency around availability and delivery".


"This cannot continue. We’re hearing first hand from members of a huge disparity in vaccination roll-out for staff in different health boards, with some areas completing first stage vaccinations and others where staff are unable to get through on email or phone lines and are left in the dark about when they can get a vaccine," said Dr Bailey.

"It’s not good enough when lives are on the line.

“We met with the Chief Medical Officer [for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton] this week to raise concerns about the planned delay between administration of the first and second Pfizer vaccine, including concerns about the evidence base, the impact on morale, and staffing shortages.

"Given the reality that healthcare workers are more likely to be exposed to and infected with the virus, it is important that they are offered the fullest protection at the earliest opportunity.

"They are unable to isolate between doses and will continue to provide patient care. Unfortunately, there was no appetite to change position."

Dr Bailey added that BMA Cymru Wales agrees that the evidence for rolling out the Oxford vaccine with a delayed second dose seems robust, "but we still need to ensure all vaccinations are done as quickly as possible".

"Without doctors and other healthcare professionals being fit and able to continue working, people in Wales will suffer," he said.

"Giving all healthcare workers a vaccination could save their lives so they can help save yours.

“Furthermore, we have called for full transparency from the Welsh Government on vaccination supply and the speed at which they are being delivered to the workforce.”

BMA Cymru Wales has asked the Welsh Government to publish data on: The number of healthcare staff vaccinated to date - first dose and second dose; the expected availability of both vaccines over the next few weeks and months, and where they will be distributed - hubs or GPs; the anticipated timeline for all health care workers to be vaccinated - first and second dose.

The organisation will also be running a survey of members twice a week to track how quickly the Welsh Government is getting doctors protected.