A nurse prepares a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine.

What Does Dr. Ashish Jha Mean by Delaying the 2nd Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Two medical experts made waves when they published a Washington Post opinion column suggesting a way to get the COVID-19 vaccine to more Americans, quicker: delay the second dose.

Dr. Oz talked to Dr. Ashish J. Jha, one of the authors of the column, to understand their argument.

The approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses be given to a person within a month. Jha and Dr. Robert M. Wachter argued that the time between those doses be increased by a few weeks, so that more Americans can get that initial first dose and be on their way to immunity.

Jha explained why he thinks it's safe for people to go a little longer before getting their second dose.

"The evidence from the clinical trials suggest that one dose is 80% to 90% effective," Jha told Dr. Oz. In terms of that effectiveness going down over a few weeks, Jha said this extended period between doses is "highly unlikely" to "have any negative affect."

He added, "Allow us to take the 35 million doses that are sitting on shelves now and get a lot more people vaccinated."

Jha said he and Wachter proposed this idea because of the rate of infections and the number of deaths. More than 22 million people have gotten COVID-19 in the U.S., and there have been more than 375,000 deaths, according to The New York Times.

Jha called this a "crisis."

"Given the facts on the ground, I think this is a safe thing to do and I think there's plenty of science to back it," he said. "Let's get all those ... does out and, as more doses come off the production line, let's get people their second dose."

Watch the video above to hear more from Jha.

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