- Dr. Anthony Fauci said “scientific data” suggested prioritizing both vaccine doses over giving out single shots to more Americans.
- There’s a discussion among health experts over the best strategy to get the most people vaccinated.
- Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for maximum efficacy.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden and longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that “scientific data” supported prioritizing the administering of both doses of the presently available Pfizer and Moderna vaccines instead of focusing the current supply on administering first shot to as many people as possible.
“What we have right now, and what we must go with, is the scientific data that we’ve accumulated,” Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, told Chuck Todd during a Sunday morning interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And it’s really solid.”
There is currently a discussion among medical experts about the most effective way to utilize the current supply of vaccines to best increase immunity in the US to most effectively permit US businesses and institutions, like schools, to safely resume operations, and to avoid further spread of the virus.
Read more: Retailers are taking extraordinary measures to convince employees to get vaccinated, experts weigh in on whether they’ll work
As NBC News reported, Dr. Michael Osterholm, a top infectious disease expert and the of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, last week said he supported an effort to prioritize the administering of the first dose to more Americans to more quickly prevent the spread of more contagious strains of the virus.
“We still want to get two doses in everyone, but I think right now, in advance of this surge, we need to get as many one-doses in as many people over 65 as we possibly can, to reduce serious illness and death that is going to occur over the weeks ahead,” Osterholm said during last week’s “Meet the Press.”
Also last week, Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor on the Biden COVID response team, instructed medical providers to stop the practice of holding onto vaccine supply to ensure their patients receive the second shot on time, saying doing so was leading providers to cancel appointments for patients waiting to receive the first dose.
Two vaccines, created by Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, late last year were authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration, but the rollout in the US has been plagued with headaches due to a limited supply. Both vaccines require two doses to reach maximum efficacy.
“If you look at the escalation of the availability of doses purely on the ability and capability of manufacturing that, it’s going to escalate and will continue to escalate as we go from February to March to April and beyond,” Fauci said Sunday. “Even though there’s a clear, clear discrepancy between the demand and supply, that will get better.”