Scientific evidence does not justify the postponement of the second vaccine by up to 12 weeks, experts find
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There is no statistical evidence to support a delay of more than six weeks in the administration of the second dose of the covid vaccine of Pfizer/BioNTech, experts from the World Health Organization say. The United Kingdom aims to delay the administration by up to 12 weeks of the second dose of both Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines – twice as long as data is available, WHO says. However, the Strategic Vaccine Advisory Group of the WHO (Sage – not to be confused with the Sage Group of the UK government) said it understood why a country faced the kind of rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths that occurred in the UK. He might decide to go beyond the evidence. In terms of our guidelines, we agree that we need to be evidence-based, but we certainly understand that countries may see the need to be much more flexible in the administration of the second dose,” said Dr. Joachim Hombach, executive secretary of WHO’s Sage Group. “But it is important to remember that to support this form of recommendation, there is very little empirical data from studies. The U.K. Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunization (JCVI) decision to suggest a 12-week delay has created some controversy among scientists in the U.K. and the U.S. Although there is some proof from Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine research that a late second dose, up to 12 weeks, may not impact the effectiveness of the vaccine, Pfizer released a statement stating that there was no evidence from its analysis.
Since there is no advisory board, there is no proof that provides us with a simple and full response to these policy issues.
And it is the essence of policy that we have to make suggestions based on incomplete knowledge,’ she said.
The number of patients who receive the first dose may be reduced by strictly adhering to the timing of vaccines for which there is trial evidence.
The Sage Committee of WHO brought together a working group of 26 experts from around the world who met online to recommend how to use the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech. Their recommendation was that the two doses of vaccine should be administered three to four weeks apart, unless there are unusual circumstances such as shortages of vaccine supply and epidemiological conditions that delay administration