Covid-19 live: Huge queues outside testing centres, new restrictions voted through

15 minute wait after vaccine dose scrapped

People will no longer be required to wait at vaccine clinics for a 15-minute period of observation after getting a Pfizer or Moderna jab, officials have announced.

The UK’s four chief medical officers have recommended that the waiting period after Covid-19 vaccines should be temporarily suspended to speed up vaccination efforts, reports the PA media agency.

After having a vaccine people are usually asked to wait for a period of observation to ensure they do not have an allergic reaction.

In a statement, the UK’s four CMOs and four deputy CMOs said: “The 15-minute wait should therefore be suspended for first, second and homologous or heterologous boost vaccinations with mRNA vaccine given the current situation, with this operationalised in line with the needs in each of the four nations.

“The long-term decisions on the 15-minute wait, when the current need for extreme speed of vaccination and boosting is over, should rest with the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).”

They said that the move would be a “temporary measure on the grounds of public health need to protect as many citizens as possible over a short period of time”.

The CMO statement adds: “The CMOs recognise that this will lead to a marginal increase in risk for a very small number of people, but substantially fewer than would be harmed by a slower vaccine rollout in the current public health emergency leading to some citizens not getting boosted or vaccinated prior to exposure to Omicron.”

Those who have a history of allergies, particularly to other vaccines, or have had an immediate reaction after a previous doses, may still be advised to stay for the 15 minutes

Each of the UK nations will determine how they will use the advice.

The wait time was introduced after two NHS staff suffered allergic reactions on the first day of the vaccine rollout last year.

But some doctors have said the waiting time can “reduce the efficiency” of vaccination centres.

The announcement comes as people have queued for hours outside vaccine clinics to get their booster shots.