Rep. Ro Khanna of California has voiced his opinion regarding the administration schedule of COVID-19 vaccines. He particularly entered the debate on whether they can delay the administration of the second vaccine dose. He urged the Biden administration to think of a new strategy so that they can release more doses out to the people.
Khanna sent a letter on Wednesday addressed to CDC director Rochelle Walensky, and to its COVID-19 task force coordinator Jeffrey Zients. In his letter, Khanna asked them to collate and consider data on how effective single doses of vaccinations are.
The representative said that everyone who is vaccinated is a “life potentially saved” in his letter. He then noted that, if data shows that a single dose of vaccine is effective, it could double the number of people that they can save. It would also make the management of the vaccine rollout easier.
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However, until now, no clinical data is available regarding the effectiveness of a single dose of the available vaccines. This applies particularly to those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Large clinical trials for the available vaccines show that vaccinated participants were less likely to be infected by the coronavirus in the period between the two doses. This is compared to those who received a placebo.
However, since the trials called for the participants to receive both doses, the effectiveness of receiving only one dose remains unknown.
Khanna: Let Data Speak
Both vaccine developers chose to use two-dose regimens for their shots. This comes as early data revealed that giving people two doses would provide them with significantly more protection for a longer amount of time.
President Joe Biden and his administration are in the opposite position regarding the matter, however. They prefer providing Americans with the recommended doses and way of administration.
Similar to Khanna, a few public health experts also support delaying the second dose. They claim that this can help build immunity among the people faster. However, other vaccine experts, similar to the Biden Administration, disagree with this approach.
Officials in Biden’s team announced on Monday that they have no plans on changing their vaccine management strategy.
Connected to this, epidemiology expert Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated the policy in place regarding the two vaccine doses. He said they will prioritize those who need the second dose first. A new batch of people will receive the other doses.
In an interview with USA TODAY, Khanna said he urged the CDC to at least consider the change due to a possibility of another surge that can happen. He said they need to decide on saving lives with a “data-driven approach.”
The representative, however, did acknowledge several concerns regarding false security among people who received one dose. However, he said the dangers put in place by the pandemic is more alarming.
When asked about the Biden Administration’s position on the matter, Khanna stated that they should “get the data out there” and that they should openly discuss the question.