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Vial of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pfizer said in a statement that there are "no data" to demonstrate that a single dose of its coronavirus vaccine will provide protection from infection after 21 days.

Why it matters: The U.K. announced on Wednesday that it would shift its vaccination strategy "to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible." Some provinces in Canada are doing the same.

  • Pfizer confirmed in response that although some protection appears to begin as early as 12 days after the first dose, two doses of the vaccine — separated by three weeks — is the only regimen that proved to be 95% effective in Phase 3 trials.
  • "Everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first," the U.K. government added in a statement. "The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection."

The big picture: Pfizer's warning comes as many countries, including the U.S., debate how to rapidly deploy the vaccines in the most effective way possible. The U.S. is on pace to fall far below its target of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020, with only 3 million single-doses administered as of Wednesday night.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.