Biden plans to release nearly all available vaccine doses in an attempt to speed delivery.


A spokesman for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine initiative, released a statement sharply criticizing Mr. Biden’s approach.

“If President-elect Biden is calling for the distribution of vaccines knowing that there would not be a second dose available, that decision is without science or data and is contrary to the F.D.A.’s approved label,” said the spokesman, Michael Pratt. “If President-elect Biden is suggesting that the maximum number of doses should be made available, consistent with ensuring that a second dose of vaccine will be there when the patient shows up, then that is already happening.”

A model published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine appears to support the Biden administration’s new distribution tactic. Cutting down on the number of vaccine doses reserved for later use could substantially reduce Covid-19 cases in the short term, said Joshua Salomon, a researcher at Stanford University and the paper’s lead author.

“The goal is to push as much out to the states right now, so states are able to deliver more first doses right now,” Dr. Salomon said. That’s not the same, however, as an explicit dose delay. “Our goal is that everyone should still be able to receive a second dose on time. That can happen, so long as there’s not massive interruptions of supply.”

Mr. Biden’s announcement came amid growing pressure to step up the slow pace of mass vaccinations in many countries, and after decisions by several European countries to increase the lag time between doses, in order to get more people their first injection quickly.

Britain announced a plan late last month to separate doses of the two vaccines it had approved by up to 12 weeks, despite concerns from health experts about a lack of clinical trial data on such a long interval. (At that time, the two vaccines authorized in Britain were the one from Pfizer and BioNTech, and one from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which has a recommended timeline of two doses four weeks apart.)

But other European countries are considering similar moves, and some experts in the United States have pushed for a similar strategy for Pfizer’s vaccine, as well as a similar shot developed by Moderna. France said on Thursday that it had approved administering the second Pfizer vaccine shot up to six weeks after the first one.

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