An 82-year-old in the U.K. on Monday became the first person to receive the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine outside of clinical trials, as nations scramble to maximize the supply of life-saving shots while improving their ability to deliver the doses in hand.

Brian Pinker received the shot, or “jab” as the British call it, at Oxford University’s Churchill Hospital. The university developed the vaccine alongside the British-Swedish drugmaker.

“I’m so pleased to be getting the COVID vaccine today and really proud it is one that was invented in Oxford,” Mr. Pinker said, according to the National Health Service.

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AstraZeneca’s adenovirus shots are the third ones to be approved by a major nation in the West, after Pfizer’s and Moderna’s messenger-RNA vaccines.

The U.K. has 500,000 doses of the new vaccine but is trying to maximize early protection by giving to as many at-risk people as possible, even if it delays the second dose beyond the prescribed 28 days.

British regulators said recipients of the vaccine that AstraZeneca will still get their second dose within 12 weeks.

“It will ensure that more at-risk people are able to get meaningful protection from a vaccine in the coming weeks and months, reducing deaths and starting to ease pressure on our [National Health Service],” the government said in its statement authorizing the shots.

U.S. officials say they’re skittish about using all available initial doses without guaranteeing the second dose will be in hand within the interval demonstrated in phase 3 trials. They don’t want to stray from methods proven in trials and presented to regulators.

However, they said the Food and Drug Administration will discuss whether the Moderna vaccine dose should be halved to maximize available doses. Moderna’s vaccine is authorized for emergency use in two, 100-microgram doses 28 days apart.

Moncef Slaoui, the science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, recently said trials showed the same immune response in participants aged 18 to 55 who received half of each dose.

“We are in discussions with Moderna and with the FDA — of course ultimately it will be an FDA decision — to accelerate injecting half the volume,” Mr. Slaoui told CBS’s “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

Some experts say the U.S. needs to figure out ways to accelerate the use of doses it has before getting creative.

“The issue isn’t that we don’t have enough vaccine, the issue is that we’re having an administration problem, so we should be trying to figure that out,” Leana Wen, the former Baltimore City health commissioner, told CNN on Monday.

She said ways to ramp up supply should be studied at some point, though warned that vaccine hesitancy is widespread, so officials have to be sure they’re following the science if they change dosing procedures.

More than 13 million doses of vaccine have been distributed but only 4.2 million have made it into arms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dashboard.

Sign-up systems have crashed in places or been too confusing, while other states say it’s a learning curve, so they expect clinics giving shots to perfect their “clinic flow” over time. Large-chain pharmacies are ramping up efforts to immunize people in nursing homes, which should improve the figures.

There have been other hiccups, including ones related to the calendar, since states started receiving doses.

For instance, Pennsylvania authorities said they contended with a major snowstorm, slowdowns from Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday and the surge in hospitalizations from the uptick in cases, meaning the people they are trying to vaccinate are focused on patients.

“Our health care heroes are not only working to vaccinate critical health care personnel, but they are caring for patients who are overwhelming hospitals,” Pennsylvania Health Department spokeswoman Rachel Kostelac told The Washington Times. “We know that it is hard to ask people to be patient as we take on a task that has never before been done, once again. But patience is exactly what we need.”

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