With Americans 65+ now receiving their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, many are beginning to worry about the wait time for their second dose. The U.S. has continued to experience delays in vaccine distribution which has sparked concern about the duration of wait time between doses. Health experts are explaining why a longer wait may not be a big deal after all.
“It’s really not a problem,” says David Topham, expert microbiologist, and immunologist for the University of Rochester in New York. Fortunately, these delays do not necessarily mean disaster.
The FDA has since acknowledged that spacing doses a little farther apart may not hurt. In the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trials, participants received their shots 21 days apart; Moderna participants received theirs 28 days apart.
On January 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CMS) said it’s okay to receive a second vaccine dose as many as four days early, or 42 days after the first dose.
Neither agency has much data on what extra time between shots does to the vaccines’ effectiveness, but the CDC considers it a “permissible risk.”
What is important about vaccine doses? The most important factor of your COVID-19 vaccine doses is that both doses come from the same manufacturer. Once you receive your first vaccine dose, be sure you pre-schedule for your second-dose before you leave.
For now, the FDA is standing by science and responded to the question of time between doses with this statement, “We know that some of these discussions about changing the dosing schedule or dose are based on a belief that changing the dose or dosing schedule can help get more vaccines to the public faster. However, making such changes that are not supported by adequate scientific evidence may ultimately be counterproductive to public health”.