With over 28 million Americans testing positive for the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, health officials are considering the possibility of only administering one dose of the COVID vaccine to those that already had the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that data from studies looking at the possibility of one dose for previously infected individuals is “really quite impressive” and is something to “we’re looking very carefully about.”

He continued by saying, “The boost that you get with that single dose is really enormous,” suggesting that one dose may be effective for coronavirus survivors.

But Fauci maintained that this is not definite yet. “We want to really carefully look at the data first.”

The idea behind a single dose of the COVID vaccine comes after a small study was conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine among healthcare workers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In the study, it was found that those that had recovered from the virus produced significantly higher levels of antibodies after one dose of the COVID vaccine, the news outlet said. The study continued by saying that after two weeks from the first doses of the vaccine, the healthcare workers’ antibody levels were about 500 times higher than those that had never had the coronavirus.

“They had a faster response and a higher response than those that had seen the virus the first time,” Mohammad Sajadi, co-author of the study, told the WSJ. “If I had COVID myself, I’d be OK with the single shot.”

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently require two doses spaced weeks apart for maximum effectiveness, up to 95%, against the virus. Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine, which is currently in the authorization process with the Food and Drug Administration, requires one dose for 66% efficacy.

The benefit of providing a single dose of the vaccine, rather than two shots, would allow for the drug to be circulated to more people faster. Supply shortages have plagued the ability to get shots into arms quickly, leaving many Americans that want the vaccine waiting for their turn.

But a spokeswoman for the FDA told the Journal that there is not enough research available to date to change the vaccine administration schedule. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed for the delay of the second dose of the COVID vaccine by up to six weeks, diverting from the recommended dosing schedule, according to the WSJ.

“We need as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, and this is one of the ways to go about doing that,” Buddy Creech, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program in Nashville, Tennessee, told the Journal. “If we had a significant portion of the population that could get only one vaccine and be done, that really allows us to move even more quickly.”

To date, the CDC has administered over 63 million first doses of the COVID vaccine to over 43.6 million people. Over 18.8 million people have received two doses of the vaccine to date, the agency said.

All three vaccines authorised for use in Europe and the United States are delivered in the form of two doses
All three vaccines authorised for use in Europe and the United States are delivered in the form of two doses AFP / JOEL SAGET