A FDNY EMS Fire Department employee receives a COVID-19 Moderna vaccine amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, New York, United States. December 23, 2020.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
The head of the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccination program said Sunday that health officials are considering the idea of giving a large group of Americans half-volume doses of a vaccine to speed up adoption.
Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that one way to speed up immunization against Covid-19 is to give some people two half-volume doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“We know that for the Moderna vaccine, half the dose is given to people between the ages of 18 and 55 – two doses, half the dose, which is exactly the goal of getting twice the number of people using the doses immunize that we have – we know it induces an identical immune response to the 100 microgram dose, “Slaoui said.
“And that’s why we’re in talks with Moderna and the FDA – of course it will ultimately be a decision of the FDA – to accelerate the injection of half the volume,” he added.
Moncef Slaoui, a former executive director of GlaxoSmithKline, speaks to President Donald J. Trump during a vaccine development event in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images
The comments came in response to why the US is not adopting the strategy of giving all available vaccine doses now, even though the approved vaccines require a second round of firing to be fully effective. The UK has taken this approach in the hope that continued production will enable the second recordings in the future.
Slaoui said it was a mistake to make a decision that was not supported by the experimental data. White House Health Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, commented similarly on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, said the strategy “goes against science” and would not solve the problems with the US launch.
“The idea of expanding it so you can get more people is when you don’t have enough vaccine and a lot of people are waiting in line to wait for a vaccine,” Fauci said. “That’s not our problem now. We have a vaccine. We have to get it into people’s arms. It really is the right solution to the wrong problem.”
The FDA and Moderna did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The dispute over different vaccination approaches stems from the fact that the introduction of the vaccine in the US did not achieve the goals of Operation Warp Speed and the pandemic continues to devastate the country. President Donald Trump has blamed states for the slow adoption as the number of vaccinations given lags behind the number of vaccines sent and delivered.
Health officials wanted to inject a vaccine to 20 million Americans by the end of the year. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 4.2 million people had received gunfire by January 2.
The last 7-day average for new cases of the coronavirus in the US is 205,093, according to John Hopkins University. That number has grown by 8% week-to-week, although tests and reports tended to be inconsistent during the holiday season. According to Johns Hopkins, the nation has an average of more than 2,600 deaths a day attributed to the virus.