The British approach on having a bigger gap between the first and second Covid-19 vaccine dose has been “vindicated,” World Health Organization Special Envoy David Nabarro said on Sunday.
Speaking on Sky News, Nabarro said:
“I think the UK’s approach, so far at least, has been vindicated. And yes, I think this is a great lesson for the rest of the world. Thank you, thank you British scientists.”
“Isn’t it wonderful that it has turned out that, as a result of the UK’s bravery, frankly, that this extended interval seems to be associated with even greater protection? That’s how we’re doing Covid at the moment, we’re all learning together, different countries approaching it in different ways,” he added.
The UK currently prioritizes the first dose of a vaccine, with a second dose up to 12 weeks later, a bigger gap than originally planned.
Nabarro explained that the WHO’s advice on intervals between vaccine doses has been “based on what the manufacturers did during the what we call Phase 3 trials of the vaccine. Then the WHO and its committees really has to work on the basis of what manufacturers told them.”
“That committee is meeting pretty often at the moment because there’s a lot of vaccines coming onstream, and the committee has to look at vaccines and it will indeed look again at the doses as a result of the British experience,” he added.
The WHO currently recommends second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines should be delivered up to 4 weeks after the first, and up to six weeks later in “exceptional circumstances.” It is currently in the process of evaluating the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use.
However, speaking earlier on NBC’s Meet the Press, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there may not be enough time to study the efficacy of receiving one vaccine dose and people should stick to the available data.
Fauci said: “From a theoretical standpoint, it would be nice to know if you just get one dose, how long the durability lasts and what is the level of effect… But, what we have right now and what we must go with is the scientific data that we’ve accumulated and it’s really very solid.”
The current data Fauci was referring to says people should get a booster dose 21 days after their first Pfizer shot and 28 days after the first Moderna shot.