Statement about COVID-19 vaccination
Monday 4 January 2021
The Association of Anaesthetists and the Intensive Care Society welcome the news that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have determined that the Oxford University/Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine has met the required standards of safety, quality and effectiveness to be granted authorisation for use alongside the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The urgent national priority should now be the rapid delivery of vaccinations to the millions of people that require them, as set out in the updated Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: Advice on Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination (issued 30 December 2020).
We are pleased to see that the JCVI guidance highlights that frontline health and social care workers at high risk of acquiring infection, at high individual risk of developing serious disease, or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff within a healthcare environment are considered a high priority. In particular, the ability of staff to continue to care for patients during the current surge is now significantly stretched both by the numbers of inpatients and by staff sickness.
We urge NHS England/Improvement, the UK government, and the devolved administrations and healthcare systems, to make all possible efforts to ensure that the priority groups identified in the JCVI list receive vaccination as rapidly as possible, and to make the necessary logistical support and infrastructure available.