Reeeeeally weird that the first major COVID decision made by the Biden administration will end up putting Sleepy Joe on the side opposite Anthony Fauci (and Donald Trump).
It’s worth three minutes to read this post for background if you missed it on Sunday. The Trump administration’s policy is to reserve half of the existing supply of distributed vaccine to make sure that people who’ve gotten their first shot can get their second in a timely way. Pfizer and Moderna each recommend that the second dose be given within three or four weeks of the first; if the dose isn’t given in the timeframe, there’s no way of knowing what’ll happen once it is finally given. Could immunity be less durable than it should be? By reserving half the doses to make sure everyone gets two on the recommended schedule, Team Trump is being cautious and playing it by the book. (How often do you hear that said of them?)
The counterargument is that data shows that the first dose alone provides strong immunity, on the order of 80 percent. The second dose brings it up to 95 percent. If top priority right now is containing a raging pandemic, we may be better off administering every dose we have on the shelves currently in order to partially immunize twice as many people. The more Americans are walking around with partial immunity, the more slowly the virus should spread. Call it the “first doses first” approach.