Stars and Stripes stripes.com 05 Jan, 2021 05:30 am

US health officials say they plan to stick with two-dose coronavirus regimen

US health officials say they plan to stick with two-dose coronavirus regimen
In recent days, some public health experts have debated whether it is worth taking a scientific gamble by altering the two-dose regimen that proved highly effective in trials to maximize the number of people partially protected with at least one shot as the pandemic surges.

"There really are no data on what happens if you delay the second dose by three months or four months or two months," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday." "We're holding in reserve that second dose, because we believe we need to go according to what the FDA said is the safe and effective way to use these vaccines," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told "Good Morning America." On CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Moncef Slaoui — chief science adviser of Operation Warp Speed, the federal initiative to speed vaccine and therapeutics development and distribution — said the second dose gives people an immune response 10 times stronger than the first dose.Others argued that because of the severity and persistence of the pandemic, the strategy of holding in reserve a second dose to ensure that people get their booster shot on time is too conservative.

"My feeling is that we're better off giving people one dose and hoping we'll get a second dose than holding back a second dose," said Walter Orenstein, professor of medicine at Emory University and scientific advisory board member of Moderna." Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, warned in a statement that use of a single dose of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna could give people a false sense of security.

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