RELEASE – KHANNA URGES CDC TO CONSIDER ONE-DOSE VACCINE STRATEGY AS SURGE LOOMS
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky and White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients, urging them to consider a one-dose vaccination regimen in order to rapidly scale up the number of vaccinations administered daily in the United States.
The FDA has released documents saying the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective after one dose showing at least 50 percent effectiveness after just one week. The UK already decided to delay the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine; they are also allowing 12-week gaps between doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The first shot of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is 80-90 percent effective over 14 days after receiving the dose. Prominent medical experts supporting considering a one-dose path include, Dr. Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, Dr. Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, Dr. Robert Wachter, MD, and Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, PhD.
Khanna’s letter points out that “If clinical data supports an effective one-dose vaccine regimen, it could nearly double our daily vaccination numbers, simplify administration, and reduce COVID-19 deaths in the long run.” Khanna also acknowledges that while “it is important that the FDA continue to follow its regular and rigorous processes, we must also ensure that new data is analyzed in proper context and not overlooked. If the data shows a one-dose regimen would save more lives, then we must adjust our strategy accordingly.”
The full letter can be found both here and is included below.
February 3, 2021
Rochelle Walensky Jeffrey Zients
Director COVID-19 Response Coordinator
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention White House
1600 Clifton Road 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30329 Washington, DC 20500
Director Walensky and Mr. Zients:
Thank you both for your outstanding leadership at the helm of our nation’s COVID-19 response. As the threat of a dangerous surge in cases led by SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) variants grows, I urge you to work with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to gather and consider data on the effectiveness of one-dose regimens of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Our country is facing a crucial turning point as we push to protect as many Americans as possible before another surge of infections. Every person we vaccinate today is a life potentially saved. If clinical data supports an effective one-dose vaccine regimen, it could nearly double our daily vaccination numbers, simplify administration, and reduce COVID-19 deaths in the long run. We must evaluate all information available and consider every option.
While daily U.S. case numbers are currently falling, more-contagious coronavirus variants first identified in South Africa, Brazil, and the United Kingdom are spreading across the globe. In fact, epidemiologists have already discovered infections caused by these variants in more than 30 states. Many patients had no recent travel history, which indicates community spread of these dangerous strains. Time is of the essence. The University of Minnesota’s Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, believes we could see a surge in infections led by these variants in as few as six weeks. Our nation faces a potential five-alarm fire. It is vital that we consider all vaccine data available to maximize the number of people protected between now and the next surge.
Public health, epidemiology, and immunology experts, including Yale University’s Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, Brown University’s Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, and University of California at San Francisco’s Robert Wachter, MD, have urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider one-dose regimens for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. I share this concern and believe we must do everything possible to mitigate a future surge in cases. While it is important that the FDA continue to follow its regular and rigorous processes, we must also ensure that new data is analyzed in proper context and not overlooked. If the data shows a one-dose regimen would save more lives, then we must adjust our strategy accordingly.
Member of Congress
Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Norris Cochran
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Chair José Romero, MD
# # #
About the Office
Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.