Moderna spokesperson Ray Jordan had earlier explained the process of administering the vaccine. It was a regimen of two vaccine doses of 100 micrograms each, to be given four weeks apart. This plan had earned the vaccine its approval from FDA in December.
Federal official Slaoui has clarified the US government’s intention to halve the Moderna vaccine. This is aimed at speeding up the roll-out and accommodating more people in the COVID-19 vaccination program. Moderna has not yet commented on Slaoui’s proposal.
With a novel corona virus mutant lurking around the globe, efforts are underway to alleviate the caseload. “Everyone is looking for solutions right now, because there is an urgent need for more doses,” said Dean. But she also stated that the best way to reach this goal is yet to be finalized.
The US has also authorized Pfizer’s vaccine alongside Moderna. Yet the objective of reaching 20 million vaccinations by the end of 2020 has not been realized.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, totally 4, 22,756 doses have been given as of 2nd January. The country has also distributed 13,071,925 doses of the vaccine.
The head of Operation Warp Speed or the federal vaccination program is Moncef Slaoui. He confirmed on CBS “Face the Nation” about plans to halve the Moderna vaccine so that the emergency roll-out can be accelerated. Officials are negotiating with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration regarding the idea.
Clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of the halved doses given to people between 18-55 years. The two 50-microgram doses displayed an “identical immune response” to the tune of two 100-microgram doses.
Slaoui confirmed on the CBS interview that each vaccine will be delivered in two doses four weeks apart yet in lowered amounts. He said the matter currently rests on the FDA’s approval and decision to implement the plan.
Efficacy of the Approach
Britain is trying to get more people vaccinated by delaying the second doses of the authorized vaccines. Slaoui said that this approach draws on little or no data, but he is confident of the US approach. “Injecting half the volume might constitute a more responsible approach that will be based on facts and data to immunize more people,” Slaoui stated.
According to Natalie Dean, biostatistician at the University of Florida, there may be more data to support a half-dose vaccine strategy. “There is a path forward if you can show that two lower doses yield a similar immune response,” Dean said.
A vaccine expert at Cornell University, John Moore, is doubtful about the approach. Some vaccines may be more difficult to halve. He also noted that injections are already being administered in very small volumes.