A doctors’ leader in Northern Ireland has said the profession is being taken for granted during a row over vaccines.
GP Tom Black said he was appalled that health officials were planning to delay delivery of a second dose of the Pfizer jab to medics.
It has to be kept deep frozen and is to be deployed to care home residents and their staff and members of the NHS.
Stormont’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has said Pfizer’s vaccine provided more than 90% immunity from a first dose, AstraZeneca’s more than 70%, and that did not diminish beyond 21 days.
Dr Black said doctors were horrified they were being offered a “lower” standard of care than residents and staff in care homes.
“I have had hundreds of doctors contact me over the last three days.
“This is the biggest issue for doctors in my 27 years as a BMA representative.
“I have never seen such anger in the profession, particularly after all the hard work and risk that they have taken over the last 12 months, just appalling, talk about taking people for granted.”
The Northern Ireland chair of the BMA said the members’ organisation harboured significant expertise within its ranks.
He warned the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine did not protect beyond 42 days and raised the possibility of health staff then contracting the infection and spreading it.
Significant delay in a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine lacks evidence and feels like an avoidable risk. Our major problem reducing harm from the epidemic is shortage of clinical staff to care for patients- we need to do everything to maintain staff levels. @BMA_NI— John D Woods (@johndwoods) January 4, 2021
He also pointed to concerns expressed by health experts in the US and elsewhere.
Dr McBride defended the decision to prioritise first doses and said criticism was not fully informed.
He said it enjoyed UK-wide professional backing, adding: “That is going to make rapid inroads into those people most at risk.
“That is also how we reduce pressures on our health services.”
The intention of officials is that the maximum number of people receive their first jab, with its partial protection, as quickly as possible to help stem the tide of cases which threatens to overwhelm the health service.