Public health experts in the US are considering recommendations to extend the interval between the first and second shot of the COVID 19 vaccine.
This, according to them, will give more protection to more and more people. The news comes in light of the information that new variants of the virus are spreading fast.
CDC Considering Recommendations To Delay The Second Shot Of COVID Vaccine
A committee of advisers of CDC’s immunization practices has discussed the proposal. It is not yet decided whether a full committee will discuss the matter and publish official guidelines.
An official familiar with the sources refused to comment because it is still under consideration and confidential.
However, US health experts had rejected a policy that allows up to 84 days between the two doses of the vaccines. Almost all vaccine manufacturers denied it.
They said that policies should follow the protocol used in preparing the vaccines. The generally recommended time period is 3-4 weeks.
More contagious and fatal viruses are threatening the present low numbers of hospitalization and deaths in the days ahead in the US.
And the States are asking for guidelines on extending protection to the maximum number of people. Until sufficient doses of vaccines are available, they have to have some form of priority. And they want to know if they can give a single shot to more people.
President Biden has ordered more vaccines from Moderna Inc. and the partnership of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.
He also predicts that the country will vaccinate 300 million people towards the end of this summer. With the arrival of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, the stress is sure to reduce.
The shot, however, is not yet authorized. Even then, the country cannot expect a large supply from the company at one go.
States are in a bid to boost immunization as much as possible. Some among them are even asking CDC to publish certain dose-extending guidelines.
Another possible approach is to maintain the present order. The country can prioritize high-risk groups like health workers and the elderly. They can have a more flexible mechanism for youngsters and those less exposed to the disease.
In the meantime, a heated debate is going on with regard to dose-extension. According to those who favor it, one dose provides some kind of protection.
Critics, however, feel that the duration of the protection one dose offers is not yet clear. They don’t even know even if it is available or not.
The only exception here is AstraZeneca Plc.UK and a few other countries have authorized it, but not in the US. Studies show that a gap of 84 days increases its efficacy. And the World Health Organization too attests to this observation.
The FDA and CDC have now softened their stand. They are now of the view that a six-week gap between two shots permissible in exceptional circumstances.
In Illinois, for instance, the demand for the second shot has begun overwhelming the State’s arrangements to distribute the first dose. The number of the second dose in the State is sure to outnumber the first jab.
The State’s Public Health Department decides to balance promoting the first dose and distributing the second dose until March. By that time, it expects more supply. It is trying to use as many doses as possible in the most effective way possible.
However, certain experts express concerns about the efforts to extend the interval between two doses of vaccines. According to them, full protection becomes available only after the second dose.
There is also the danger of the low level of protection one dose offers when compared to the full protection may aggravate the threat of the new variants of the virus. Reports from across the globe show this.