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Dec 31

The UK is making a risky bet to stretch its supply of coronavirus vaccines, and scientists are split on the un – Business Insider India

Scientists are split on the UK's plan to give initial doses of coronavirus vaccines to as many people as possible, even at the risk of delaying their booster shots.

UK officials announced Tuesday that the country would prioritize getting its population first doses of the coronavirus vaccine instead of holding enough for a second dose. The idea is to boost the number of people getting vaccinated with the country's initial supply of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.

Read more: One striking chart shows just how well Pfizer's vaccine works to prevent COVID-19 infections

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UK officials released guidelines on Tuesday that allow people to wait up to 12 weeks between doses.

"I feel very strongly that we should get as many shots in arms as possible, right away. The reality is that one dose is partially protective," Gottlieb wrote in a USA Today op-ed on December 7.

Plotkin agreed, saying that providing some protection for a larger percentage of the population is better than none at all. However, he said he still supports providing two full doses to high-risk individuals to ensure they are as protected as possible.

Because the strategy remains untested, both Plotkin and Offit emphasized how difficult it is to measure the effectiveness rates of a single dose over a period of several weeks. It could be as high as 60% or 70%, they estimated based on previous trials, but that remains far below the 95% efficacy for people who get both doses.

Pfizer said in a statement that decisions on dosing are up to health authorities, but that there's no data to show how the shot works if people don't get their second injection on time.

"There's fragile vaccine confidence, and if it looks like it's been done haphazardly, which it does, you could lose the faith of the public," Offit said.

Offit said he sees the appeal of such a strategy given the current strain on supplies, but added that he's hesitant to back the strategy in the US until it can collect and analyze additional data.

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The UK is making a risky bet to stretch its supply of coronavirus vaccines, and scientists are split on the un - Business Insider India

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