The United Kingdom (UK) is giving out the first shots of the vaccine created by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Monday (January 4), officials added that vaccine to its arsenal. The UK was previously using the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The Oxford -AstraZeneca vaccine is reportedly cheaper and easier to use since it does not require super-cold storage, making transportation cheaper and less complicated.
The Associated Press reports that the UK has more than 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca on hand and is aiming to vaccinate 2 million people per week as soon as possible. The UK has recorded over 50,000 infections a day over the past six days, AP says.
In spite of the lowered efficacy, the adoption of the one-dose vaccine may be a necessary move, according to the former Chief Medical Officer of St. Kitts-Nevis and practicing pediatrician Dr. Patrick Martin.
In an OP-ED Martin offered his thoughts on the use of one-dose mass vaccinations considering the COVID-19 situation in the UK. It reads:
“With its hospitals full to overflowing, UK authorities have opted for 1-dose mass vaccination for now. The approved dosage for the BioTec/Pfizer and Moderna is 2 doses, 4 weeks apart.
However, such is the burden that patients are cared for in ambulances. Winter has three(3) or so more months to go. In these circumstances, vaccine dosing recommendations have to be tweaked.
The 1-dose option provides many with something in short order.
Purists may balk. Trial data indicate 2 doses, 4 weeks apart is optimal – 95% efficacy. Efficacy of the “1-dose for now” option is 50 – 60% which exceeds the established 50% threshold for moving forward.”
In the United States of America (USA) the coronavirus death toll surpasses 350,000; a world record for COVID-19 deaths in any country. The USA has dispensed 4 million vaccines to date after speeding up the process over the past few days.
Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is expressing a glimmer of hope after 1.5 million doses were administered in the previous 72 hours. An average of 500,000 per day.
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to administer 100 million shots within his first 100 days in office.