August 5, 2021
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A pharmacist prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Triboro Center nursing home in the Bronx, New York, on December 21. Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US will continue giving two doses of the coronavirus vaccines a few weeks apart and will not follow the UK’s decision to delay the second shot, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday.   

“I would not be in favor of that,” Fauci said when asked about the UK’s new dosing regimen. “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” 

So far, the coronavirus vaccines approved in the US require two doses based a few weeks apart.  

The British government announced Wednesday that “the UK will prioritize giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk group” and allow the second dose to be given up to 12 weeks later.  

The UK adopted the strategy to give as many people as possible the first dose as quickly as possible, saying it affords some amount of protection.  

Asked on Thursday by NBC’s Today Show if the US should change its approach and adopt the UK’s plan, Fauci answered, “that’s under consideration.” He told CNN Friday that this comment had been “misinterpreted.”  

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that in their clinical trials, Pfizer and Moderna – the makers of the two vaccines approved in the US – studied the effectiveness of two doses a few weeks apart, not a few months apart.  

“The fact is we want to stick with what the science tells us, and the data that we have for both (vaccines) indicate you give a prime, followed by a boost in 21 days with Pfizer and 28 days with Moderna. And right now, that’s the way we’re going with it, and that’s the decision that is made,” he said. 

“We make decisions based on data. We don’t have any data of giving a single dose and waiting for more than the normal period of time (to give the second dose).”

When he indicated on the Today Show that following the UK’s example was “under consideration,” Fauci said Friday what he meant was some people – not US health authorities – were talking about it.  

“It was somewhat of a misinterpretation. I think some – not everybody – but people misinterpreted when I said it’s under consideration (as) like we’re going to change. We’re not,” he said.