Frankfurt | The BioNTech laboratory warned Tuesday that the maximum effectiveness of its vaccine against COVID-19 was not demonstrated if the second injection is delayed, a strategy applied or considered by several countries to vaccinate more people.
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“The efficacy and safety of the vaccine have not been evaluated for other dosing schedules” than the two injections spaced 21 days apart applied during the clinical trial, explained the German company, which developed with the American Pfizer the first vaccine authorized in the United States and the EU.
Faced with limited stocks of this product, Denmark announced Monday to space the two doses up to six weeks; the UK, which authorized the vaccine before the EU in early December, allows up to 12 weeks to elapse between the two injections.
“In this way, we will be able to vaccinate more people now,” explained the head of the Danish National Health Agency, Søren Brostrøm, interviewed by public television TV2, stressing that this analysis was based on the documentation presented by laboratories that reported a second dose received “between 19 and 42 days” after the first.
In Germany, the health ministry has asked health authorities to assess options to extend the deadline, according to a document consulted Monday by AFP.
“Although data shows that there is partial protection as early as 12 days after the first dose, there is no data that shows that protection remains in place beyond 21 days,” said a spokesperson. from BioNTech.
“We believe that a second injection is necessary to provide maximum protection against the disease,” adds the Mainz-based company, which specializes in messenger RNA.
However, “decisions on alternative dosing regimens are made by national health authorities” with which the laboratory is in “continuous dialogue”.
The decisions also concern the Moderna vaccine in Denmark, which is currently being approved by the European Union, and that of AstraZeneca in the British case.