Several European countries are considering combining COVID-19 vaccines for people who got a first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, an unprecedented development that highlights the challenge facing governments battling increasing infection rates.
Following a small number of claims that recipients of the AstraZeneca inoculation experienced extraordinarily unusual blood clots, vaccination programs have been interrupted, prompting several countries across the world to suspend its use out of caution.
As a result of these concerns, several countries have imposed age limits on the AstraZeneca vaccine. This means that certain individuals who got an initial dose are no longer eligible for a second.
There are also problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout, with manufacturing running behind schedule.
AstraZeneca has previously stated that its trials have shown no increased risk of clots as a result of the vaccine, which has been delivered in millions of doses around the world.
The decision is notable because it has not been evaluated in late-stage clinical trials, despite the fact that the figures are limited in comparison to the tens of millions being inoculated across the country.
Any deviation from the EMA’s marketing authorisation would be called “off label use,” meaning the regulator would not authorize it and individual countries would be responsible for any potential side effects.
When asked about mixing and matching vaccines, the EMA had no immediate response.
Since all of the vaccines target the virus’s outer “spike” protein, some scientists believe they could work together to prepare the body to combat it.
There is no proof that this would be as reliable.
On April 1, Germany became the first European country to suggest that people under the age of 60 who have already had an AstraZeneca shot receive a different product for their second dose.
“Nobody expects from an immunological perspective that there will be a disadvantage to getting a second dose of another vaccine,” Marianne Roebl-Mathieu, a member of the standing committee on vaccinations, told an online briefing.
By April 15, Norway will decide whether to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine again or depend on alternatives.
“The outcome is either you get one vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine … or you get a booster vaccine with other types of vaccines,” Sara Viksmoen Watle, a senior physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, told Reuters.
Norwegian authorities are also awaiting the results of a British trial that began in February to investigate the possibility of combining vaccine doses from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Late last year, the United Kingdom announced that on rare occasions, people would be able to receive injections of various COVID-19 vaccines.
However, on Wednesday, the CDC recommended that people under the age of 30 no longer receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that people who have already received one dose need not switch vaccines.
“Those who have received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be offered the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the set schedule,” said Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Finland, which began using the AstraZeneca vaccine again on March 29 but would only administer it to people aged 65 and up, said it would wait for the EMA’s findings before issuing a recommendation. By mid-April, it will have to start offering second doses.
Hundreds of thousands of people in France are affected by the problem, as the vaccine is now only available to those aged 55 and up.
According to two sources familiar with the organization’s plans, the Haute Autorité de la Santé (HAS), a top health advisory body in charge of determining vaccine use, is considering using a messengerRNA (mRNA) vaccine developed by Pfizer or Moderna as a second dose.
There hasn’t been a formal decision taken yet.
France has until the beginning of May, which will be 12 weeks after the first doses were given.
The HAS had nothing to say about it.
It said in February that there was no evidence to determine the interchangeability of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and that anyone who had already received a first dose did not receive a separate shot when vaccinated again.
Source: ABC World News