Pascal Soriot on First Doses First

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, in an interview:

I think the UK one-dose strategy is absolutely the right way to go, at least for our vaccine. I cannot comment about the Pfizer vaccine, whose studies are for a three-week interval….First of all, we believe that the efficacy of one dose is sufficient: 100 percent protection against severe disease and hospitalisation, and 71-73 percent of efficacy overall.

The second dose is needed for long term protection. But you get a better efficiency if you get the 2nd dose later than earlier. We are going to do a study in the US and globally to use two-month dose interval to confirm that this is indeed the case, there are many reasons to believe it is the case with our vaccine. We have a different technology. First of all, when you look at level of antibody production, this is higher if you give the second dose three months or two months later than one month later. Also, if you look at Ebola, its vaccine, which is also using the Adenoviral vector like the Covid one, the second dose needs to be given eight weeks later. Finally, the J&J vaccine with Adenoviral vector also are performing studies on a two-month interval. And J&J has the same technology as ours. Therefore, for our vaccine, there is no doubt in my mind that the way the UK is going is the best way, because right now you have a limited amount of vaccine, but also you have a limited number of doctors and nurses able to inject people. So you maximize the number of people who get one dose. You give them enough protection for two or three months, then you give them the second dose after 3 months.

By the way, the US failure to authorize the AstraZeneca vaccine in the midst of a pandemic when thousands are dying daily and a factory in Baltimore is warmed up and ready to run is a tragedy and dereliction of duty of epic proportions. The AZ vaccine should be given an EUA immediately and made available in pharmacies for anyone who wants it while continuing to prioritize Moderna and Pfizer for the elderly and essential workers.

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