Extended interval BNT162b2 vaccination enhances peak antibody generation


npj vaccines

Contributing to research themes:

The BNT162b2 vaccine is highly effective against COVID-19 infection and was delivered with a 3-week time interval in registration studies1. However, many countries extended this interval to accelerate population coverage with a single vaccine. It is not known how immune responses are influenced by delaying the second dose. We provide the assessment of immune responses in the first 14 weeks after standard or extended-interval BNT162b2 vaccination and show that delaying the second dose strongly boosts the peak antibody response by 3.5-fold in older people. This enhanced antibody response may offer a longer period of clinical protection and delay the need for booster vaccination. In contrast, peak cellular-specific responses were the strongest in those vaccinated on a standard 3-week vaccine interval. As such, the timing of the second dose has a marked influence on the kinetics and magnitude of the adaptive immune response after mRNA vaccination in older people.

Author list:


  1. Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham. B15 2TT, UK
  2. National infection Service, Public Health England, Colindale, London NW9 5EQ, UK
  3. National infection Service, Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 OJG, UK


Parry H1 , Bruton R1 , Stephens C1 , Bentley C1 , Brown K2 , Amirthalingam G2 , Hallis B3 , Otter A3, Zuo J1 , Moss P1