Feds consider cutting Moderna vaccine doses in half, UW researcher reacts

VIDEO: Plan to stretch doses of COVID-19 vaccine concerns local scientists

Dr. Moncef Slaoui of Operation Warp Speed said he would like to see doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine cut in half. He talked about the idea on “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning. Slaoui said reducing the doses would allow them to vaccinate twice as many people.

He says research shows giving half the dose to people between ages 18-55 gives the same immune response.

“We know it induces identical imune response,” said Slaoui.

Content Continues Below

Ali Mokdad is a professor of Health Metric Science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

While Moderna released data that shows half a dose can be as effective as a full dose, it is still in Phase 2 of the clinical trial. Mokdad says this is not the time to skip steps.

“To cut corners right now on a protocol that has been proven through a clinical trial and science and we have built in a vaccine, to come and change it right now is dangerous,” said Mokdad.”Everyone in the world is watching us. If we fail in this vaccine it will backfire on us.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke out against changing doses on Meet the Press. “The idea about stretching it out so you can get more people, that’s if you have not enough vaccine and a lot of people lined up waiting to get a vaccine. That’s not our problem now. We have vaccine, we need to get it into people’s arms.”

In Washington, more than 80% of the vaccine delivered to the state still has not been administered, making it a distribution problem as well as a supply problem.

Mokdad worries that if the FDA approval process is not followed, it will impact trust in all vaccines. He worries it could keep parents from vaccinating their children in the future.

He says the idea of splitting doses is a distraction. Instead, he says the U.S. should be focused on getting the Astra Zeneca vaccine approved. The U.S. ordered more than 300 million doses, and that will help protect the most people from COVID-19.