David Davis: Chris Whitty's vaccine delay 'is unwise - and not the first unwise judgement'

1 January 2021, 13:03 | Updated: 1 January 2021, 13:30

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Former Brexit secretary David Davis has said the decision to delay giving people their second coronavirus vaccine jabs is an "unwise judgement" from Professor Chris Whitty, suggesting it was "not the first" from him.

Mr Davis, who was the first person to hold the role for Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, told LBC he believed the logic behind the decisions were based upon worries "the system itself will be slower than the government predicts".

He told LBC's Iain Dale on Friday: "This is a way of mitigating that. I think it's a bad idea," later arguing that an answer would be to "put more resource into it and go faster."

The Conservative MP then went on to say he understood the chief medical officer's reasoning, but added that he thought there would be some "concern" from GPs administering the vaccine.

"He'll create irritation on the part of doctors, GPs [...] because they have got a duty of care to their own patients," he said.

The former Brexit secretary said there should be more resources applied to the vaccine roll-out to make the process faster
The former Brexit secretary said there should be more resources applied to the vaccine roll-out to make the process faster. Picture: PA

The New Year's Day comments come after all four of the UK's chief medical officers (CMOs) said the spreading out of initial jabs while delaying the boosters would be more likely to have an "optimal public health impact" than otherwise.

In a joint statement, the CMOs stressed the first dose gives people "substantial initial protection" by boosting them from 0% to 70% of protection. The second dose for people would, therefore, only be increasingly "marginally on protection from severe disease".

"Whilst the NHS, through all of your work, has so far vaccinated over one million UK patients with a first dose, approximately 30 million UK patients and health and social care workers eligible for vaccination in Phase 1 remain totally unprotected and many are distressed or anxious about the wait for their turn," the statement continued.

"These unvaccinated people are far more likely to end up severely ill, hospitalised on in some cases dying without vaccine."

READ MORE: Delaying second Covid vaccine doses 'will save lives' - UK's chief medical officers

Mr Davis, meanwhile, said 70% did not equal safety, arguing a delay in doses would not be good enough.

He said: "I think there is a qualitative virtue of getting people to the point of feeling safe and 70% safe is not safe in the modern world.

"There will come a point to stop all the lockdowns and that won't happen until a significant majority of the population after safe from the disease."

READ MORE: Hundreds of incidents reported as police break up NYE parties defying COVID rules

An NHS spokesperson said on Thursday that the update to guidances on administering second doses of the vaccine would potentially save "thousands of lives".

"The NHS immediately informed GPs on the day the revised instruction was given, with extra financial and logistical support now being provided to help ensure thousands more receive the vaccine quickly."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Melvin Terry waited for 27 hours in A&E before being sent home

Hospital apologises after grandfather, 76, spent 27 hours waiting for A&E bed before being sent home

The girl was allegedly abducted from Warne Avenue, Droylsden

Man, 23, arrested on suspicion of abduction and sexual assault of girl, 6, in Droylsden

Grant Shapps told Nick Ferrari there were "no plans" to introduce registration plates for cyclists

'No plans' to introduce registration plates for cyclists, says Grant Shapps

Jack Fenton was killed after being struck by a helicopter's tail rotor

Parents demand answers from Greek authorities after son, 22, killed by helicopter blade

Lady Louise

Lady Louise Windsor working for minimum wage at garden centre before university

Gerard Butler posted this picture of him and his pal Darius on Instagram

Gerard Butler pays tribute to 'dear friend' Darius Danesh and posts moving Instagram photo

A 44-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 87-year-old Thomas O'Halloran

Man charged with murder after Thomas O'Halloran, 87, stabbed to death on mobility scooter in Greenford

iPhones and iPads are among the affected devices

Apple reveals serious security issue with iPhones, iPads and Macs that could give hackers complete control

Another day of travel chaos awaits commuters in and to London

Unions threaten to strike for 'as long as it takes' as millions face more travel chaos in London

The officer has been charged with dangerous driving

Armed officer charged with dangerous driving after he drove unmarked car to Streatham terror attack

Ryan Giggs' raunchy poems to his ex were read out in court

Ryan Giggs' mother sits in court as raunchy 'totem pole' poems he sent to ex are read out

Ms Marin said she is a normal 36-year-old who spends time with her friends

Finnish PM denies drug taking after footage of 36-year-old dancing at 'wild' party emerges

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A new image, on the right, has been released

New image of man released by police after girl, 6, abducted and taken to woodland in Droylsden

Mr Mendy and Mar Matturie deny a string of sex offences

Benjamin Mendy 'told rape victim he had sex with 10,000 women and it was a privilege'

Anger as Southern Water ‘unsure’ how many litres of sewage released at closed beaches

Sewage scandal: pollution plaguing Britain’s beaches and beauty spots as water firms told 'clean up your act'