Delaying the Second Dose of the Pfizer Vaccine
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that the interval between doses may be extended up to 42 days based on the currently available clinical trial data. Responding to whether the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can be delayed, Pfizer stated that the alternative dosing regimen of the Covid-19 vaccine has not been evaluated and advised the health authorities to “conduct surveillance on the implemented alternative dosing schedules” to ensure the Pfizer vaccine provides the maximum possible protection.

The United States

  • The United States will continue with the FDA’s dosing schedule and won’t delay administering the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. According to the FDA and CDC, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s second dose should be given 21 days after the first dosage.
  • The vaccination will continue as planned because there is no proven scientific data that shows delaying the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is harmless. Administering less regimen than what was used during the clinical trial may compromise the body’s immunity.

Canada

  • According to Gaston De Serres and Danuta Skowronski, Canada-based researchers, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s second dose should be delayed because the first dose was highly effective with a 92.6% efficacy. Skowronski and De Serres raised concerns that the duration of protection with a single dose of Pfizer is uncertain, but giving a second dose within a one-month duration only adds little short-term benefits.
  • Pfizer vaccine is administered to individuals 16 years of age and above in Canada. Following NACI’s and PHAC’s recommendation, Canada will continue to vaccinate the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as per the initial schedule, the second dose three weeks after the first dose. The recommended minimum interval between the first dose and second dose of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is 19 days, the authorized interval is 21 days, and the alternate interval is 3 to 6 weeks.
  • British Colombia, a Province in Canada, extended the interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to four months. According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, this adjustment is based on the at least 90% protection offered by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s first dose. Ontario is also considering delaying administering the second dose of vaccine for four months.

The UK

Denmark

  • Denmark approved a delay of up to six weeks between the first and second” Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Denmark spaced out the Covid-19 vaccination dosing schedule to enable more people to get the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

France

  • The government of France rejected the move to delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine because the move is not “justified by evidence,” as stated by the Health minister. France also cited risks from the new Covid-19 variants. As of February 11, 2021, 535,775 people in France had received the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination, 3 to 4 weeks apart as initially scheduled.
  • France’s Health Authority for Health (HAS) recommended that people who initially contracted the Covid-19 virus will only receive one dose of the vaccine because scientific data shows people who have already been affected retain an immune memory.

The UAE

  • The UAE has slowed down its rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine due to a temporary shipping delay. However, this only affects administering the first dose. The DHA (Dubai Health Authority) advised that all appointments for the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine remain unaffected.
  • According to the Covid-19 steering committee chairperson, Farida Al Khaja, the vaccination will continue as planned, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech being administered 21 days after the first dose.

Israel

  • Israel’s government has not stated if delaying the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is currently an option. More than 2.7 million people have received the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Israel, an equivalent of 30.2% of the country’s entire population.
  • Researchers from Israel suggest that one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine could be less effective than stipulated. According to a report by Israel’s Clalit Research Institute, two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are 94% effective across all age-groups, while a single dose is only 85% effective.

New Zealand

  • New Zealand’s Medsafe, the medicine regulator, provisionally approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine on February 3, 2021, and the first batch is set to arrive in New Zealand before the end of March 2021.
  • New Zealand has not considered giving people a single dose. Medsafe approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to be administered in two doses three weeks apart. Dr. Bloomfield, New Zealand Public Health Official, stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine dosing schedule would be adhered to as recommended by Medsafe.

Singapore

  • The Singapore government is administering two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, the second dose 21 to 28 days after the first dose. As of February 2, 2021, 6,000 individuals in Singapore had received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • The Singapore Health Authority (HSA) instructed individuals to receive the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to complete the vaccination series for maximum protection. Singapore is not delaying administering the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
GLENN TREVOR
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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