The US government is considering giving just half-doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to help accelerate the unexpectedly slow rollout, the program’s chief science adviser revealed.
Despite a concerted effort to ramp up vaccinations over the past few days, the number of shots dispensed is still only about 4 million — a fraction of the 20 million initially predicted by the end of 2020.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui of the Operation Warp Speed vaccine response told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that his team is keen on administering half doses to double the available supply.
“We know that for the Moderna vaccine, giving half of the dose to people between the ages of 18 and 55 … induces identical immune response,” he said.
Slaoui rejected the suggestion that officials should prioritize giving more Americans a single shot, and spacing out the time between doses, saying that cutting the vaccine doses in half was “a more responsible approach that would be based on facts and data.”
Giving two half-dose shots “means exactly achieving the objective of immunizing double the number of people with the doses we have,” he insisted.
Slaoui said his team is “in discussion” with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to push for permission.
“Of course, ultimately it will be an FDA decision,” he told the CBS show.