Would single-dose COVID vaccinations help stretch supply and help protect more people?

Would single-dose COVID vaccinations help stretch supply and help protect more people?
Older generations eager for vaccination opportunities. (Source: WLOX)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As efforts to ramp up the pace of coronavirus vaccinations in Alabama and across the country, some health leaders suggested more people could get vaccinated if vaccine supplies were stretched to include more people.

Health leaders with the University of California and Brown University theorized only administering a single dose of COVID-19 vaccines, instead of giving second doses, to allow more people to be vaccinated.

Infectious disease expert, Dr. Michael Saag with UAB said science shows that after the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by day 12 or 13 most people get the benefit of the vaccine.

The second dose is meant to intensify and prolong the effect of the vaccine, according to Dr. Saag.

Dr. Saag had heard the theory of only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and weighed in on whether it could work.

“The problem is we don’t have any data. We don’t have any experience with that. It’s a bunch of folks thinking clearly and imagining that that would work. And, that could be the case, it really could work. But it might not,” he explained.

Dr. Saag said vaccine availability is not about timing but logistics.

“Is really about getting the materials from the manufacturer to the sites and then getting them into people’s arms. And, there are bumps along the way, I think that’s going to be worked out in the next week or two, but that’s what really has to be fixed right now,” said Dr. Saag.

Production of vaccines had ramped up and there was a stockpile of vaccine waiting to be shipped out.

As far as the state not meeting vaccination estimates in the beginning, Dr. Saag said it was disappointing but all factors must be considered.

“In fairness, we’ve never done this before, so the estimates of how many people would be vaccinated by the end of December, by the end of January we’re guesses. And they have a materialize in the way that we thought. I’m disappointed, everybody I suspect is disappointed. I’d love to get the vaccine to everyone right now I’d love to have the ability to vaccinate 340 million people in the United States. it would end this thing today,” Dr. Saag exclaimed.

On the bright side, Dr. Saag said he was happy to see more people interested in getting vaccinated.

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