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Extension of the interval between vaccine doses for the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was introduced in the United Kingdom to accelerate population coverage with a single dose. At this time, trial data were lacking, and we addressed this in a study of United Kingdom healthcare workers. The first vaccine dose induced protection from infection from the circulating alpha (B.1.1.7) variant over several weeks. In a substudy of 589 individuals, we show that this single dose induces severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses and a sustained B and T cell response to the spike protein. NAb levels were higher after the extended dosing interval (6-14 weeks) compared with the conventional 3- to 4-week regimen, accompanied by enrichment of CD4+ T cells expressing interleukin-2 (IL-2). Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection amplified and accelerated the response. These data on dynamic cellular and humoral responses indicate that extension of the dosing interval is an effective immunogenic protocol.

Original publication






Publication Date





5699 - 5714.e11


Translational and Clinical Research Institute Immunity and Inflammation Theme, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. Electronic address:


PITCH Consortium, T-Lymphocytes, Humans, Immunoglobulin G, Vaccines, Synthetic, Antibodies, Viral, Treatment Outcome, Linear Models, Immunity, Cross-Priming, Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic, Reference Standards, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Young Adult, Antibodies, Neutralizing, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Vaccines, Ethnicity, BNT162 Vaccine