Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Good Morning America Wednesday that delaying second doses of Covid-19 vaccine so that as many people in the US can get a first dose is “not necessarily” what he recommends.
Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that it looks like there is going to be a much steadier supply or cadence of vaccines coming in through February and into March.
“Certainly you don’t want vaccines sitting around in the refrigerator or in a freezer if they’re ready to go, you want to give them to people,” Fauci said. “But if you balance it well, George, you can get as many people in their first doses and then when the next shipment comes in, take care of the people that are about due for their second and then give more to the first.”
“I think you can accelerate it without necessarily dramatically delaying the second dose,” Fauci said. “If you miss it by a few days to a week or two, I don’t think that’s a big problem, as the CDC says, but I’d be concerned about delaying it for three months or so.”
When asked about Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine data that found 76% efficacy up to three months following one dose and possible higher efficacy among more spaced-out doses, Fauci reminded that this a different type of vaccine from the mRNA vaccines already in use in the United States.
“You got to be careful because you’re dealing with different vaccine platforms,” he said, adding that the data that is available for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines “are solid” about getting a second shot 28 days and 21 days later, respectively.
“We know just from immunology in general that a little flexibility on either end of that is not going to be a big deal, however if you delay it longer you don’t know whether or not the efficacy is going to be maintained over a period of time, and you don’t know how low it’s going to go,” he said.