Patients turning down Pfizer coronavirus vaccine 'to wait for English one'

7 January 2021, 20:41 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 20:56

Patients have reportedly been turning down the Pfizer jab
Patients have reportedly been turning down the Pfizer jab. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Elderly patients are turning down the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine because they want to “wait for the English one”, a doctor has said.

Paul Williams, former Labour MP for Stockton South, said taking such a risk “in the depths of a pandemic" shows that “nationalism has consequences”.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was made available to patients at the start of December, with the Oxford/AstraZeneca version being authorised on December 30.

The Government has been clear that both vaccines are safe, effective and offer a high-level of protection against Covid-19.

EXPLAINED: What is the difference between the Oxford and Pfizer Covid vaccines?

Experts say there are no head-to-head comparisons between the two, and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation does not advise a preference between the two vaccines for any specific population.

Writing on Twitter, Dr Williams said: “Some local patients have turned down an offer this weekend of getting a Covid vaccine when they found out it was the Pfizer one. ‘I’ll wait for the English one’.

“People at risk of death in the depths of a pandemic. A lesson that Nationalism has consequences.”

He added: “They will stay on the priority list.

“(The) Oxford (vaccine is) not yet here, but when it is it will be offered to them.

“Sometimes patients need a bit of time to make up their mind about these things, but time isn’t on our side here!”

Dr Williams was a GP before turning to politics, continued to see patients while he was an MP to maintain a link with them and, since being voted out in 2019, has worked on the NHS’s fight against Covid-19.

He was made an OBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to Parliament and healthcare.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify