Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested in a press conference that the second dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer (made possible in part by federally funded research), currently being distributed and taken by health care workers, may not be necessary, and that perhaps the state’s supply could then be stretched to reach double the amount of people with just one dose. He said:
“Just get as many doses out there…I’m not sure that Pfizer would agree or FDA would agree, but I think just the point is, getting that first dose out really does make a difference, and I think you’ll see that.”
DeSantis referenced an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal advocating for distributing just one dose due to indications that it is somewhat effective at protecting against COVID-19 symptoms.
Pfizer’s trial data indicate that the first dose of the vaccine is about 52% effective against COVID-19 symptoms. However, the second dose is needed to reach the 95% efficacy rate.
Additionally, the vaccine was not fully studied using just one dose. Almost everyone in the study who received the first dose of the vaccine also received the second dose about 21 days later, so it’s not clear how long-lasting the partial protection from the first dose could last.
Pfizer calls for two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart.