Trump officials debating cutting Moderna dose in half to speed up COVID-19 vaccination

Trump officials debating cutting Moderna dose in half to speed up COVID-19 vaccination

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The distribution of coronavirus vaccines is severely lagging, just as the U.S. has begun identifying cases of a new, more infectious strain. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is considering splitting doses of Moderna’s vaccine in half.

We’ll start with a vaccine update:

Trump officials debating cutting Moderna dose in half to speed up COVID-19 vaccination

Trump administration officials are in discussions with Moderna about speeding up the coronavirus vaccination process by only giving people half the recommended dose of the company’s vaccine, according to a top adviser.

Moncel Slaoui, the chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, said there is evidence that giving people between the ages of 18 and 55 two half-doses “induces identical immune response” to the normal 100 microgram dose.

During an interview with Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Slaoui said the strategy “means exactly achieving the objective of immunizing double the number of people with the doses we have.”

No supply problem: The current problem isn’t supply, at least according to the numbers coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States are struggling to administer the doses they already have, leading many experts to question a strategy that effectively doubles the dose availability, but does not provide additional help to the jurisdictions.

The numbers: There’s a sizable gap between “doses delivered” and “doses administered,” and neither are close to the administration’s goal of 20 million shots by the end of 2020.

Only about 4.5 million Americans have received the first of two doses, while about 15.4 million doses have been delivered. Logistical problems have plagued the distribution efforts, with much of the crucial “last mile” of work falling to underfunded local health departments.

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