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Utah mulled postponing second shots to give out more first doses


SALT LAKE CITY — Faced with limited vaccine doses and soaring infections, a group of UK scientists went against the advice of some COVID-19 vaccine makers’ guidelines and delayed providing second shots, choosing instead to give out more first shots to more people. Now, we’re learning Utah considered that same strategy. 

The UK strategy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the first doses of the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines were 80% effective at preventing infection.

According to researchers at University College London, almost three-quarters of the UK population has antibodies against the virus, either through vaccination or past infection, inching closer to herd immunity, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

Part of Canada has followed the UK’s lead, but the United States seems to be sticking to the one dose, then second dose approach, according to The Wall Street Journal

Utah’s governor did contemplate doing just what the UK scientists did, delaying second shots to put more first doses in arms.

Delay second shots

Gov. Spencer Cox joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio to discuss.

“Any temptation to change things up a little bit. I know this was a concept that intrigued you at some point, at least, but the UK decided to delay those second doses in favor of taking all those second doses and turning them into first doses. Any chance that Utah would consider doing something like that?” Dave asked.

“The topic did intrigue me,” Cox said. “It’s something I still think we should have done, but it would have made much more sense in December and January, when we had much higher cases and when we had much less supply.

“That’s when it would have made sense,” the governor said. “I think the UK actually made the right call there. And we definitely talked about it here in Utah. The reason we didn’t is that this is more of a national discussion — one that doesn’t make a lot of sense to go it alone.”

CDC guidance influenced Utah decision

Cox said the CDC discouraged the state from following the UK lead. He added that back in December and January it made sense to follow that path because just one shot of vaccine provides significant immunity. Cox said now that the state has a much greater vaccine supply, the UK decision doesn’t make sense for Utah.

“We’re just a matter of weeks from having enough supply for everyone that wants one,” Cox said. “Getting those second doses in arms, especially for our most vulnerable, has been very good for our state as we continue to drive down those hospitalization and the death rates.”

Listen to more of the conversation with Gov. Spencer Cox on Dave & Dujanovic below. 


You can get a free COVID-19 test from the state at these locations this week

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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