Data indicating higher protection from first dose than previously thought highlighted
Giving consideration to longer intervals between the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is being urged by Dr Elizabeth Brint, an immunologist at University College Cork’s Department of Pathology.
The latest data on the impact of the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine should give cause for a rethink of Ireland’s Covid-19 immunisation strategy, according to Dr Brint.
She believes it could be time to consider spreading out the time between administering the first and second dose of the vaccine, thus allowing more people to receive their first shot sooner.
“Covid transmission rates remain stubbornly high. Public compliance with restrictions seems, anecdotally, to be on the wane. We are looking at a much-needed return to school and childcare for children. The so-called Brazilian variant has now been detected in our population as of last week, and experience tells us that this will spread despite containment efforts. All these factors predict a potential increase in spread over the next few weeks,” she said in a statement issued today.
“However recent data published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, indicates that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine confers much higher protection than previously thought.
“In addition, emerging evidence shows that vaccination is indeed reducing transmission. Therefore, surely it is time for a vaccination strategy rethink with a shift to a model more like what the UK is perusing, which is currently achieving good results, with more people receiving the first dose and spacing the second dose out more to, for example, nine to 12 weeks.
“Immunology tells us that this will work and there is no reason to assume any drop in overall protection if we space the doses between first and second dose,” she added.