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Grothman on the Effectiveness of One Vaccine Dose Strategy

Today, after news that a study conducted by Sheba Medical Center in Israel showed that one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can be up to 85 percent effective in protecting against COVID-19 three to four weeks after inoculation, Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06) called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) to further consider the single-dose strategy.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was developed as a two-dose shot and reported an efficacy rate of 95 percent. New research shows that the vaccine can be just as effective with one dose as it is with two doses.

In the U.S., states have been directed to administer both doses of the vaccine to individuals in each phase, starting with 1a and moving down from there. In the United Kingdom (U.K.), the priority has been to administer as many “first-doses” as possible in order to give protection to a larger group of people. The U.K. has seen an 80 percent decrease in deaths compared to 45 percent in the U.S. between January 22 and today.

Example: If a population of 100,000 people were all given a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, up to 85,000 (85 percent of those given the vaccine) would be protected three to four weeks after their first dose. If the two-dose strategy were used on these 100,000 people, 50,000 would receive the first and second dose and the other 50,000 would receive nothing, resulting in up to 47,500 (95 percent of those given the vaccine) of the initial 100,000 people protected. Note that in these two examples the same number of vaccine doses were administered, 100,000, but the two-dose strategy protected roughly 44 percent less people than the single-dose.

Multiple hospital administrators have told me that if they had two doses available and their parents were brought in to get the vaccine, they would much rather give each of their parents one dose right away and delay a second dose rather than having one parent be fully vaccinated with two doses and the other left with nothing,” said Grothman. “The single-dose strategy has clear evidence behind its effectiveness and the CDC and NIH should be more seriously considering it. While it may result in less money for the drug companies, this strategy could be saving more lives.

“The U.K. has been using the single-dose strategy and have seen their COVID-19 cases and deaths plummet. Since January 8, 2021, the peak of new cases in each country, the U.S. has thus far decreased the 7-day average by about 75 percent to the U.K.’s 89 percent. Since deaths usually lag about two weeks behind new cases, since January 22, deaths in the U.S. have fallen by 45 percent compared to 80 percent in the U.K. These numbers should be alarming for all Americans and raise the question as to why our public health establishment has not explored the idea of taking up the single-dose strategy that seems to be saving more lives.”


U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) is serving his fourth term representing Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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