Pharmaceutical Industry Warns Against Interference With COVID Vaccine Injection Timings

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Pharmaceutical industry organizations in the US and Europe on Wednesday urged governments not to extend the delays prescribed by COVID-19 vaccine developers between the first and second injections, as the UK has started to do. to deal with current bottlenecks or shortages. Governments and national health authorities should “stick to the dose that has been evaluated in clinical trials,” said the European Federation of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers and Associations, the US Biotechnology Industry Organization. Any dosage changes or The schedule “must follow science and be based on transparent deliberation of available data,” they added. The UK government earlier this year devised plans to extend the interval between two doses up to 12 weeks, up from the minimum three weeks prescribed by manufacturers, prompting criticism from BioNTech BNTX, -3.17%, developer of the first approved vaccine. Other countries, like Germany, are considering similar steps. The World Health Organization said last week that, although it recommended “an interval of 21 to 38 days” for the vaccine developed by BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer PFE, -1.56%, it could be extended to 42 days ( six weeks) “. due to current” exceptional circumstances. “The US Food and Drug Administration, on the other hand, said on January 4 that” changes in doses or authorized schedules “would be” premature and they would not be solidly rooted in the available evidence. ”He added that, except for appropriate data, this would pose a“ significant risk of putting public health at risk. ”The European Medicines Agency has also expressed skepticism about an interval extension. Read: Why Boris Johnson Is Said To Be Considering A Tighter Lockdown

The outlook: The UK’s decision, triggered by the severity of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ambitious vaccination campaign the government has established, is now coming under fire from the pharmaceutical industry. That could increase fears among the public about the risks of a rushed vaccination campaign, with a negative impact on confidence that would negate the benefit of vaccinating more people faster. The industry reaction is also a way of warning governments that vaccine developers cannot be held responsible in the future for incidents or adverse side effects during vaccination campaigns that have not strictly followed the recommended doses and schedules. Read: Europe struggles to defend itself against new variants of COVID