Doses of the new CCP virus vaccines can be spaced apart as long as six weeks in some cases, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) said in new guidance on Friday.
Both authorized vaccines require two doses. Patients typically get the second dose three weeks or a month after the first.
Concern is growing about the availability of doses because the Biden administration greenlit the release of nearly all doses the government is receiving, instead of holding back some to ensure that people who got one shot can get another in the recommended time period. The policy started late in the Trump administration.
“Persons should not be scheduled to receive the second dose earlier than recommended (i.e. three weeks [Pfizer-BioNTech] or one month [Moderna]). However, second doses administered within a grace period of four days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. Doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated,” the CDC stated in its guidance.
“The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.”
The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson told The New York Times that the agency’s “intention is not to suggest people do anything different, but provide clinicians with flexibility for exceptional circumstances.”
“What the CDC is saying, sometimes the situation is stressed where it’s very difficult to be exactly on time,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an appearance Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“So we’re saying you can probably do it six weeks later, namely, two additional weeks. Quite frankly, immunologically, I don’t think that’s going to make a big difference,” added Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Some 16.2 million people have received at least one dose of a vaccine as of Jan. 22, according to the CDC. Nearly 40 million doses have been distributed to states.