Fauci warns of risks from single-dose strategy for Pfizer, Moderna vaccines

Fauci warns of risks from single-dose strategy for Pfizer, Moderna vaccines
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciIsraeli president receives COVID-19 booster shot AstraZeneca CEO: 'Not clear yet' if boosters are needed St. Louis official says he was targeted with racist slurs over mask promotion MORE, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said in a new interview that Biden administration officials plan to stick with a two-dose approach for Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines as they work to inoculate Americans even though at least one other country has used a single-dose method. 

“We’re telling people [two shots] is what you should do … and then we say, ‘Oops, we changed our mind?'” Fauci told The Washington Post on Monday. “I think that would be a messaging challenge, to say the least.”

Fauci warned that adopting a strategy to administer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines with just a single dose in an effort to get more people vaccinated more quickly could render Americans too susceptible to infection and spark more doubts about the vaccines' efficacy. 

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“There’s risks on either side,” Fauci said. 

Health officials in the United Kingdom, who began administering doses weeks before the first shot was given in the U.S., have shifted their inoculation program to a one-dose strategy as they rush to vaccinate more Britons while variants of the coronavirus spread across the island. 

Fauci told the Post he had spoken with officials in the U.K and “we both agreed that both of our approaches were quite reasonable."

“We had a really good conversation this morning,” Fauci continued. “We agreed that there is a risk of making things worse by doing that — balanced against the risk of not getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as you can.”

The issue, Fauci said, is the gap between supply and demand. Public health officials in the U.S. are confident that discrepancy is narrow enough that with three drug makers, Pfizer, Moderna and now Johnson & Johnson, each manufacturing a vaccine, there will soon be enough to administer two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to every American who wants one by the middle of the summer. The recently authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

“Very quickly the gap between supply and demand is going to be diminished and then overcome in this country,” he said. “The rationale for a single dose — and use all your doses for the single dose — is when you have a very severe gap between supply and demand."