AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine is more effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, instead of six weeks, a peer-reviewed study published in The Lancet medical journal showed on Friday.
The study confirmed the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker’s findings from earlier this month that showed the vaccine had 76% efficacy against symptomatic coronavirus infection for three months after the first dose.
Efficacy was found to be at 81% with the longer interval of 12 weeks between the first and second dose, compared with 55% efficacy up to the six-week gap, according to the Lancet study, which backs British and WHO recommendations for longer intervals. (bit.ly/3bmLX25)
Faced with a resurgence in infections and new, highly transmissible variants of the virus, many countries are hoping to broaden immunization by giving some protection to as many people as possible with a first dose, while delaying subsequent shots.