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The U.S. might cut Moderna vaccine doses in half. Here’s why

Officials say the U.S. might cut Moderna vaccine doses in half as the pandemic rages on.

A dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is placed into a syringe, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Boston.
A dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is placed into a syringe, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Boston.
Elise Amendola, Associated Press

The United States might cut the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses in half so that more people get shots, according to Politico.

What’s going on?

Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Moncef Slaoui recently said there is some evidence that two half doses in people from 18 to 55 years old has an identical immune response to the recommended single dose of the Moderna vaccine, according to Politico.

  • “It will be based on facts and data to immunize more people,” Slaoui said.
  • He added, ”of course we continue to produce more vaccine doses.”

The FDA will need to make the final decision about the vaccine distribution strategy, though.

Bigger picture:

The potential change in strategy comes as the United States has seen a slow rollout of vaccines.

  • President-elect Joe Biden promised “at least 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” during his first 100 days in office, according to The New York Times. That would mean there would be 100 million doses given out by April 30.

What does Dr. Fauci think?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious disease expert, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that the U.S. shouldn’t shift away from the strategy used in trials.

  • “We know what the science tells us,” Fauci said. “So my feeling ... is let’s do it the way the clinical trials have instructed us to do it. But let’s get more efficient into getting it into people’s arms.”

Bigger picture:

Federal officials said the U.S. would need to vaccinate 80% of the population to reach a herd immunity level where things could return to normal, Politico reports.