In the UK, on rare occasions, people can receive various COVID-19 vaccines, although there is no evidence of the level of immunity offered by mixing doses.
In a departure from other strategies around the world, the government said people could get a mix of two COVID-19 shots, for example if the same dose of vaccine were out of stock, according to guidelines released on New Year’s Eve.
“(If) the same vaccine is not available, or if the first product received is unknown, it makes sense to offer a dose of the locally available product to complete the schedule,” according to the guidelines.
Mary Ramsay, director of vaccinations at Public Health England, said this would only happen on extremely rare occasions and the government does not recommend mixing vaccines that require at least two doses several weeks apart.
“Every effort should be made to give them the same vaccine, but where this is not possible it is better to give a second dose of a different vaccine than not at all,” she said.
COVID-19 has killed more than 74,000 people in the UK – the second highest death toll in Europe, and health officials are scrambling for doses to end the pandemic as fears increase that health services may be overwhelmed.
Earlier this week, the government reactivated emergency hospitals built at the beginning of the outbreak as the wards filled with COVID-19 patients. Britain led the way in approving the new coronavirus vaccines, being the first to grant Pfizer an Emergency Authorization / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / University of Oxford vaccines last month.
Both vaccines should be given as two vaccinations several weeks apart, but they should not be mixed together.
The government’s new guidelines state that “there is no evidence of interchangeability of the COVID-19 vaccines, although studies are underway”.
However, the Council states that while every effort should be made to complete the dosing regimen with the same vaccine, the patient may receive different vaccines if they are at “imminent high risk” or are “unlikely to repeat” is present “.
The UK sparked controversy earlier this week by announcing plans to delay administration of the coronavirus vaccine booster to ensure more people receive the more limited protection afforded by a single dose.
Leading U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said Friday he disagreed with the UK approach of postponing the second dose to 12 weeks.
“I wouldn’t approve of that,” he told CNN. “We’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)