8 weeks between shots is the ‘sweet spot’ for giving Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, UK researchers say

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A paramedic flushes a syringe before preparing a shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Giving two doses of Pfizer’s shot eight weeks apart could best protect against the Delta variant.
A study found that the eight-week delay boosted immune responses higher than waiting 21 days.
It’s a trade-off between needing two doses and optimizing the immune response, the researchers said.

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Giving the second dose of Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks after the first is the “sweet spot” to protect against the fast-spreading Delta variant, a UK research group has said.

A study posted Friday, led by Oxford University, found that delaying the second dose up to 10 weeks boosted antibodies and “helper” T cells that support the immune system higher than giving it at three weeks, as recommended by Pfizer.

Two doses of Pfizer’s shot boosted immune responses higher than one dose, no matter the time between doses, the study authors from the universities of Oxford, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Birmingham added. Waiting longer to get a second dose presents a trade-off because people are less protected against the coronavirus after just one shot.

A ‘sweet spot’ for protection from the coronavirus

Susanna Dunachie, a National Institute for Health Research global research professor at Oxford University who co-led the study, said at a news briefing on Thursday that eight weeks between doses for Pfizer’s vaccine “was the sweet spot.”

The study authors cautioned that “regardless of the dosing schedule, the study found levels of antibodies and T cells varied significantly from person to person, which may depend on genetics, underlying health conditions, and past exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses.”

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The Protective Immunity from T cells to COVID-19 in Health workers, or PITCH, study, which hasn’t yet been scrutinized by other experts in a peer review, used blood samples from 503 health workers who were mostly white (86%) and women (74%), with an average age of 43.

Dr. Lance Turtle, senior clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at University of Liverpool, was also involved in the study. He said that eight weeks between doses is a “reasonable compromise” but added that there are exceptions. People who are immunosuppressed, such as those being treated for cancer, should get second doses of Pfizer’s shot as soon as possible, he said.

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Source:: Business Insider

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