Dr. Fauci Warns That It's Still Too Risky to Do This With the Vaccine

There is emerging evidence to support this practice, but Fauci isn't convinced.

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With two effective and safe COVID vaccines on the market and another in the process of approval, the U.S. may be on its way to achieving herd immunity. In order to reach that goal faster, people have sought ways to hasten the vaccine rollout. Multiple recent studies have found that just one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines could be enough to provide protection. But while this may seem like the perfect plan to speed things along, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, has said giving people single doses only is too risky. Read on to see why Fauci believes this method of vaccination could be dangerous, and to see what you should steer clear of after getting your shot, Don't Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.

Dr. Fauci warns against getting just one dose of the vaccine.

A young woman sitting in her car wearing a face mask receives a COVID-19 vaccination from a female healthcare worker wearing a face shield, face mask, and gloves.
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CNN reports that during a Feb. 19 White House press briefing, Fauci voiced his concern about using just one dose of the vaccine to protect yourself from COVID. He has been a consistent proponent of administering both doses of the vaccine at the correct intervals to achieve full immunity.

Fauci proclaimed that we will continue to administer the vaccine in the same manner as it was done in the clinical trials. "We will stick with the scientifically documented efficacy and optimal response of a prime followed by a boost with the mRNA vaccines," he said. "The reason is even though you can get a fair degree of, quote, protection after a single dose, it clearly is not durable." And for more essential vaccine guidance, The CDC Says Don't Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine.

Recent studies suggest one dose can be enough protection, especially for people who have had COVID.

A young woman prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from a female healthcare working holding a syringe and wearing a face mask and gloves.
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A preprint study published on Feb. 1 found that "the antibody response to the first vaccine dose in individuals with pre-existing immunity is comparable to or even exceeded the titers found in naïve individuals after the second dose." In light of this discovery, the researchers proposed that changing the policy so these individuals only receive one shot wouldn't have a negative impact and could "spare them from unnecessary pain and free up many urgently needed vaccine doses."

Another preprint study also released on Feb. 1 contained similar findings, which led to the same suggestion. The researchers advocated administering a single dose of vaccine to patients who had previously tested positive for COVID. Additionally, they suggested these people should also be placed lower on the vaccination priority list. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Some officials have advocated switching to one dose for everyone to stretch out supplies.

Doctor vaccinating teenage boy wearing face mask
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The Wall Street Journal reported that a new peer-reviewed Israeli study found that one shot of the Pfizer vaccine is 85 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness from COVID 15 to 28 days after being administered. This study supports some experts' argument that focusing primarily on first doses would be wise. Michael Osterholm, PhD, a member of the White House's COVID advisory board, has been advocating for this tactic to help prevent another surge by getting some portion of immunity into more people. And for more on life after the vaccine, Dr. Fauci Just Confirmed You Can Do This After Getting Vaccinated.

Fauci is concerned that delaying your second shot could create more strains.

A young man receives a COVID vaccine from a healthcare worker
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During the Feb. 19 briefing, Fauci warned that "you might theoretically be inducing new variants" by putting off second doses or not seeking them at all. The infectious disease expert has expressed this concern before. During an earlier White House press briefing on Feb. 8, Fauci explained, "The other theoretical issue that could be problematic with regard to only a single dose, that if you get a sub-optimum response, the way viruses respond to pressure, you could actually be inadvertently selecting for more mutants." And for vaccine side effects to prepare for, Dr. Fauci Said He Had Pain in These 2 Places After the COVID Vaccine.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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