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Gary Cornell: Move to a Single Dose Now!

Summary:
I get so mad when the people in charge don’t seem to do the obvious logical reasoning from the facts. But it is actually often even worse that that. Too often, even if they do know what logic requires, they won’t follow through on the conclusions that those facts and logic implied. For the latest case in point,  consider the following: We now have some really good evidence that a single dose of mRNA vaccines convey really good immunity (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00448-7/fulltext) (even if it may be short-lived unless people get a booster shot).The more people get some protection, the fewer the number of mutations escape into the wild. (Common sense but always worth quoting Fauci: “Viruses don’t mutate unless they replicate,  And if you can

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I get so mad when the people in charge don’t seem to do the obvious logical reasoning from the facts. But it is actually often even worse that that. Too often, even if they do know what logic requires, they won’t follow through on the conclusions that those facts and logic implied. For the latest case in point,  consider the following:

  1. We now have some really good evidence that a single dose of mRNA vaccines convey really good immunity (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00448-7/fulltext) (even if it may be short-lived unless people get a booster shot).
  2. The more people get some protection, the fewer the number of mutations escape into the wild. (Common sense but always worth quoting Fauci: “Viruses don’t mutate unless they replicate,  And if you can suppress that by a very good vaccine campaign, then you could actually avoid this deleterious effect that you might get from the mutations.”)1
  3. We will have a lot more doses in a few more months. Actually, we will have more than enough mRNA doses to vaccinate everyone in the United States (and then some) by the end of the summer or early fall with massive increases coming starting in May. (And that doesn’t count new vaccines coming down the pike like Novavax’s!)

Ergo, why the ^%&$ aren’t we moving to a single dose of the mRNA vaccines now, save giving the second dose for when we have no supply constraints and, of course, completely stopping the idiotic reserving of any second doses if that is still being done?

  1. Want some grade school math numbers to back this up? One dose is 85% effective. Two doses are roughly 10% more effective. Therefore, for every person you vaccinate with a single dose, naive arithmetic (but probably still roughly accurate) says you lower replication of the virus by roughly 8 .5 fold compared to giving that second dose to a single person. You also save more lives, lower hospitalization rates, etc. – but I’ll leave the math behind that to the reader. 
Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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