By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – The US government is considering giving some people half the dose Moderna (NASDAQ 🙂 & # 39; s COVID-19 vaccine to expedite vaccinations, a federal official said on Sunday.
Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccination program, said on CBS "Face the Nation" that officials had spoken to Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration about the idea. Moderna's vaccine requires two injections.
"We know that for the Moderna vaccine that gives half the dose to people between the ages of 18 and 55 years old, two doses, half the dose, which means exactly to hit the target, double the number of people with the Immunize doses that we have. ”Slaoui said.
"We know it elicits an identical immune response," he added.
Moderna and the FDA could not be reached immediately for comment.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they administered 4,225,756 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and distributed 13,071,925 doses on Saturday morning.
The US has also approved a vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 which, like Moderna, requires two shots. Vaccinations fell far short of early targets as officials hoped to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020.
Slaoui said he was optimistic that the vaccinations would continue to accelerate. He opposed the suggestion that officials should prioritize giving more people a single shot rather than holding back cans for the second shot, saying that halving Moderna vaccine doses is "a more responsible approach based on facts and data" .
Slaoui said it would likely not be known until late spring if people who were vaccinated could still pass the disease on to others.
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