MY 89-year-old mum has today had a call cancelling her appointment for next Tuesday to receive a second dose of the vaccine to protect her from Covid-19.

This is further to the column I wrote on January 1 - see link here: A DOSE OF CONFUSION.

The second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was originally intended to be 21 days after the first dose – in line with the clinical trials carried out and the manufacturer’s recommendation. However, the Government has since changed its strategy so that the gap is now up to 12 weeks.

The rationale is to give as many people as possible some protection from a first dose of the, although the change has been questioned by frontline doctors.

It also appears from reaction to my January 1 column that some health trusts are defying the Government’s strategy and going ahead with second dose appointments as planned. I’ve certainly received messages saying that’s the case, so inconsistency reigns.

In my mum’s case, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is falling in line with the new strategy, and she's been told she'll be informed of a new date for the second dose.

She’s typically philosophical but understandably disappointed: “It’s just one of those things but it all feels very confusing,” she said. “You build up your hopes and then everything changes. It's up in the air."

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to see that Labour peer Baroness Joan Bakewell is threatening the Government with legal action over the decision to delay the second vaccinations, arguing there are grounds that it’s unlawful.

She said: “Older people are in limbo: they need to know whether delaying the Pfizer vaccine is safe and legal. The Government needs to make this clear.”

She's instructed a law firm to start proceedings, naming Health Secretary Matt Hancock as the respondent. Let's see where that leads.

Of course,  it is to be hoped that the Government’s gamble – for that’s what it must be – will pay off, and time shows that the change of strategy was the right course to take to protect as many people as possible within the shortest time.

In the meantime, I’ll watch with interest to see how much localised defiance of the new strategy there is – and what the Government’s response will be to those trusts or medical practices which decide to stick with the original appointments.