Vaccine Playbook Gets Creative

The UK administered the world’s first Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine shots today—a cheaper, easier-to-use alternative to the Pfizer vaccine that Britain rolled out last month, the AP reports.

New Strategy: The UK plans to stretch the interval between 2 doses required for vaccines— potentially up to 3 months, rather than the recommended 3-4 weeks. The strategy, which will allow more people to get the first dose sooner, will effectively turn the country into a “living laboratory,” writes STAT’s Helen Branswell.

“My concern … is that if you wanted to make a vaccine-resistant strain, what you would do is to build a cohort of partially immunized individuals in the teeth of a highly prevalent viral infection,” said Paul Bieniasz of Rockefeller University.

Meanwhile in the US: Criticized for its sluggish vaccine rollout so far, the US is considering giving half doses of the Moderna vaccine, POLITICO reports. There’s evidence that 2 half doses in people ages 18-55 gives an “identical immune response” to the recommended dose, said Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Moncef Slaoui— but the FDA will make the call.

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