College response to changes to Pfizer vaccine schedule

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It will be deeply frustrating for GPs and their teams to have to cancel appointments for patients already booked in for their second dose of the vaccine - especially as when making these appointments they were following the original guidance they were issued.

“It’s not just going to be a case of calling patients to cancel and then rebooking a new cohort of patients for their first jabs - a significant task in itself given the timeframe and numbers involved - but, it will involve explaining the rationale for this to vulnerable and elderly patients, and dealing with their understandable confusion and disappointment. 

“However, the JCVI have put forward a compelling case that this is the best way to protect as many people as possible from the virus, and this is the decision that has been made. NHS England’s guidance does allow for some clinical discretion for practices to go ahead with second vaccinations where necessary - and if a practice uses this, it is important it is respected. It is also vital that GPs and their teams are supported with the resources and workforce needed to deliver all aspects of the Covid vaccination programme.”

Further information

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574

Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.