WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Anthony Fauci is cautioning against deviating from the two-dose regimen for the approved coronavirus vaccines.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden is warning that delaying the second dose in an effort to speed vaccinations to more people could increase the number of potentially dangerous variants.
Speaking at a White House briefing, Fauci expressed concern that the immune response to the virus may be weaker without the “booster” shot.
He added that, “The way viruses respond to pressure, you could actually be inadvertently selecting for more mutants by a suboptimal response.”
Fauci said altering the three-week interval between doses for the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for the Moderna shot should only be recommended after rigorous scientific study. But he said that the months it would take to gather the data would largely render the outcome “moot.”
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Fauci reiterated that point on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“You can do both, you can get as many people in their first dose at the same time as adhering, within reason, to the timetable of the second dose,” said Fauci. “It would be great to have the study, but I don’t think we could do it in time.”
Fauci told NBC that he believes the number of daily vaccinations will continue to increase in the weeks ahead as more doses are made available and other vaccines are approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“If you look at the escalation of the availability of doses purely on the ability and capability of manufacturing that, it’s going to escalate and will continue to escalate as we go from February to March to April and beyond,” said Fauci. “Even though there’s a clear, clear discrepancy between the demand and supply, that will get better.”