As the pandemic continues, experts explore ways to harness still-scarce vaccine stocks to protect the most One idea that resurfaced this week is to allow more time between the first and second dose of the two-dose vaccines. This time, however, additional data suggests that it might work.
Here is the idea: two flagship vaccines, manufactured by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna require two doses. But their first data showed fairly high protection after the first dose. It got people thinking - is it worth giving more people partial protection with just one dose? Or should they stick to the schedule and completely vaccinate fewer people?
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Back in December, some experts encouraged researchers to set up trials to find out whether a single dose of a two-dose vaccine would be effective. At around the same time, the UK health authorities decided to plow ahead without these studies, and gave priority to the first injections in the arms, which allows people to delay their doses.
This week we got more data showing that a single dose of Pfizer / BioNTech actually does a very good job of preventing disease. A study in Israel found that a first shot was 85% effective in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in healthcare workers.
There are a few caveats. Here is a problem maDay: Most people in the study ended up getting their second dose fairly quickly. This means that researchers cannot say that the first dose is effective between 15 and 28 days after a person receives that first injection. The duration of protection beyond that is still unknown.
This is why some experts still urge caution when it comes to changing the timing between these vaccines. "Until there are good clinical trials showing that a single dose provides an equivalent level of protection, I don't know whether we should abandon our approach or create new policies, Jonathan Tempte told NBC .
C 'is complicated , and researchers do notdo not agree. Some, including Anthony Fauci, argue that meeting two scheduled doses may help keep the United States ahead of dangerous variants of the virus. Others prefer to adopt a strategy more similar to that of the United Kingdom.
"There is an old saying that we also don 't use parachutes or aspirin if we were waiting for randomized trials. "
" I think this [strategy] is something reasonable people might disagree but say you shouldn't do something backed up by random evidence an emergency would have prevented us from using masks, social distancing, doing anything we know to be good public health practice, "said Marc Lipsitch, epidemiologist at Harvard at CIDRAP News earlier this month. He added: " There has an old saying that we wouldn't use parachutes or aspirin if we waited for randomized trials, either.
Here in the United States, states are trying to speed up the doses - and look to the federal government for advice. The CDC has previously stated that under extreme circumstances, providers can stretch the window between the plans of their patients from three to four weeks up to six. This week, Bloomberg reported that ' a committee that advises the CDC was considering whether or not to recommend changing the timeline in a smaller working group.
This discussion may not reach the full committee anytime soon. The working group may decide they need more data, or they may not make it to the next meeting. related to COVID-19 in favor of discussing more pressing issues - including their recommendations for Johnson and Johnson's single-shot vaccine. (Another meeting of this committee is scheduled for next week , but it focuses on a host of other deadly diseases, including Ebola, dengue fever and rabies.)
Even if the committee does not take it immediately, the question of when to administer the doses is fascinating, and we will Watch it as the vaccine rollout accelerates and more data continues to flow.
Here's what's happening this week.
Up to 90 UK volunteers to participate in pioneering COVID-19 infection trial
A trial in the UK will deliberately expose volunteers to the virus that causes COVID-19. To begin with, it will try to establish how little virus it takes to cause infection. The a trial was announced last year , but ethical and regulatory steps had to be taken to continue. (Nicola Davis / The Guardian)
Who died of COVID-19 in the United States?
This is a visual and moving dive into the death data in the United States and examines the demographics of people who have died from this disease. (Youyou Zhou and Julia Belluz / Vox)
The myth of " good "and " bad COVID vaccines
With the deployment of several vaccines, there are inevitable comparisons between them. But these comparisons can be harmful when communicating about vaccines - and getting people to take them. (Helen Branswell / STAT)
COVID- vaccines19 start to work in the United States
Cases in the United States are declining. While this wider drop cannot yet be attributed to the vaccine, there are places where researchers see vaccinations working. (Nicole Wetsman / The Verge)
Why Grandparents Can't Find Vaccines: Shortage of Niche Biotech Ingredients
Until recently, the ingredients found in The mRNA-based vaccines manufactured by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna were produced only in small quantities. But as manufacturing accelerates, producers must move quickly. (Christopher Rowland / The Washington Post)
African health workersUnprotected donkeys die as wealthy countries buy COVID-19 vaccines
Some countries and regions have a difficult time procuring vaccines, creating serious health crises. Richer countries like the United States have a clear advantage in the vaccine race and are moving forward - with tragic results elsewhere. (Kai Kupferschmidt / Science)
- Journalis t Sheila Mulrooney Eldred writes about the experience of her teens participating in Moderna's vaccine trial for The New York Times.
- Kaitlin Dennis, who has been battling symptoms of COVID-19 since March 2020, as directed to Eli Saslowat The Washington Post .
- Lovely Umayam written on safety and her father's fight against COVID-19 for the New York Times.
More Than Numbers
To the more than 110,655,192 people worldwide who have tested positive, can your path to recovery is smooth.
To the families and friends of the 2,450,423 people who have died around the world - including 495,469 in the United States - your loved ones will never are not forgotten.
Stay safe, everyone.