A senior Italian health official said Wednesday that increasing the time between the first and second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from three weeks to up to six is not problematic after an official from the pharmaceutical company suggested it was best to stick to span of 21 days.
“I say this very clearly as a doctor,” Franco Locatelli, the president of Italy’s Higher Health Council (CSS) and the coordinator of the CTS expert panel advising the government on its response to the coronavirus, told RAI television.
“Extending the period between administration of the first and the second doses to the sixth week, so 42 days, does not impair the effectiveness of the immunization in the slightest and it enables us to give out more doses of the vaccine”.
On Tuesday Pfizer Italia Medical Director Valeria Marino said that her company’s COVID vaccine was designed to be given in two doses three weeks apart.
But on Wednesday the company stressed that “recommendations on alternative dosage regimes are the competence of the health authorities”.
Locatelli said he understood Pfizer ‘s “protective attitude” regarding studies done on the three-week period between doses.
But he added that “studies in real life have shown its effectiveness after a period of 42 days too.
“So statements like yesterday’s only create concern and it would be desirable to avoid them”.