Co-Cabinet Spokesman Udaya Gammanpila said at the Cabinet decision briefing held on the 11th that there is no problem in mixing two types of corona vaccines.
“Experts on the subject have commented that there is no problem in getting the first dose with one vaccine and the second dose with another vaccine. Sri Lankan doctors will make the final decision. Therefore, there is no reason for people who have taken only the first dose to be apprehensive about taking the second dose from another type of vaccine,” Gammanpila said.
Opinion of the WHO
When inquired by MediaLK whether the two doses could be given in two different types of vaccines, the World Health Organization (WHO) replied via email that there is still no data on how ‘mixed vaccination’ enhances immunity or efficacy.
MediaLK – A Sri Lankan minister has stated that the first dose can be given with one vaccine and the second dose with another vaccine. Is it safe to do so?
WHO – Mixed Vaccination Data on Immunity or Efficacy are not yet available. Research is ongoing.
MediaLK – How is it approved by the World Health Organization?
WHO – Covid-19 vaccine, which has been added to the EUL list, is approved for single use only.
MediaLK – What is the current status of related research?
WHO – A clinical trial in the UK is currently underway. They are considering a combination of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine. Tests have also been extended to extend the trial to Modena and Nova-vax vaccines. The World Health Organization encourages further studies on vaccine admixture.
Still only at research stages – Not confirmed anywhere
Vaccine specialist Dr. Kanthi Nanayakkara told MediaLK that the vaccine is still in the research stage and has not yet been scientifically approved.
“Currently there is a situation where the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine is delayed. The government is trying to bring it to the country. We will also look into the possibility of giving mixed vaccines. This means that those who received the first dose from one type of vaccine could be given the second dose from another type of Covid vaccine. This is still at the research level.
“It has not yet been scientifically approved. But two or three countries have already given young people two doses of two types of vaccines before the test results come out. Accordingly, young people who have taken the first dose of AstraZeneca have been approved to receive a dose of Moderna or Pfizer as the second dose. This decision has been taken by the regulatory authorities of those countries. But there is still no definitive, scientifically confirmed information in this regard in the world. The world has not yet received the data that the required results can be obtained by giving two doses from two types of vaccines in this manner.”
Safety has not yet been confirmed – Minister in charge of Covid Control
State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemiology and Covid Control Sudarshani Fernandopulle told MediaLK that giving corona vaccine in mixed doses has not been scientifically proven to be safe yet.
“What the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends is if the first dose is taken from AstraZeneca, the second dose also be followed by AstraZeneca. But the world is researching whether a mixture can be used. Because every country is facing a vaccination crisis. Tests are being carried out to find out whether the first dose can be given in one type and the second dose in another. The results have not been released yet. The World Health Organization still recommends taking the second dose from the same type of vaccine taken as the first dose. However, these recommendations may change in the future. Neither the scientists nor the World Health Organization has yet confirmed that vaccines can be mixed.”
No final conclusion yet – Researches only
Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, Director of the Institute of Allergy and Immunology and Cell Biology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, says that a number of countries are still testing the Covid-19 vaccine but a final conclusion has not yet been issued.
No response from the Minister
Co-Cabinet Spokesman Udaya Gammanpila was contacted via phone to inquire about the matter, but the respondent said that Gammanpila was in a meeting and that the meeting would take some time to conclude. Our attempt to find out the end time of the meeting was in vain.
More side effects can be caused by a mixture
A research team at the University of Oxford in the UK is currently conducting several experiments on vaccine mixing.
Comparing dosage schedules with a combination of Pfizer / Oxford-AstraZeneca injections, one study has revealed that people receiving mixed-dose injections had an increased risk of side effects. The Oxford University research team said the study also confirmed that the adverse side effects prevailed for a short period.
The researchers said that their research was performed experimentally with infected cats and that those experiments did not show a mutation in the virus but did say that “such mutations cannot be ruled out.” The Com-Cov study at the University of Oxford began earlier this year to look at alternative doses to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine.
According to the research report published by them, mixed injection was carried out at intervals of four weeks as follows.
- Pfizer vaccine as the first dose and AstraZeneca as the second dose.
- AstraZeneca as the first dose and Pfizer as the second dose.
- Unmixed injection doses
The research team noted that the mixed vaccination method showed more side effects than the non-mixed vaccination method from the above methods.
Too early to predict the results
Matthew Snape, assistant professor of pediatrics and vaccination at the University of Oxford and lead investigator on the study, comments:
“It is important to educate the public about the data we are trying to research through these studies, especially since several countries are focusing on this mixed-dose methodology. The results of this study suggest that mixed doses may increase the difficulty of working in the days following vaccination, and this should be taken into account when designing immunizations according to this method for health workers.”
Matthew Snape says that this study does not show any other safety issues, and that the effect or success of mixed vaccination on immunization could not be observed with this test. Snape also says it is expected to submit data reports in the coming months.
Snape also emphasized that the study was conducted on people in their 50s and older, and that the situation could be different in young people. Overall, “it was a truly intriguing discovery that we did not expect to see such a consistent general reaction,” Matthew Snape told the media.
Researchers also report that people who take mixed doses are more likely to develop side effects such as fever, chills, fatigue or headaches than normal method of taking doses. Researchers also say that this mixed methodology is something that everyone should be vigilant towards.
“It would not be appropriate for all nurses in the same ward to be vaccinated in mixed doses on the same day. It is more likely that none of the nurses will come to work the next day,” Snape said.
How was the research done?
The first and second doses of the aforementioned vaccination methods were given at intervals of 28 days to 50 randomly selected and 830 more volunteers. According to a research report published in The Lancet, the mixture was given four weeks apart and was given in three forms.
- Pfizer as the first dose and AstraZeneca as the second dose.
- AstraZeneca as the first dose and Pfizer as the second dose.
- Either of AstraZeneca or Pfizer for both the doses.
What are the side effects?
The researchers found that after the second dose, people who received mixed injections had more side effects, as follows.
34% of those who received AstraZeneca vaccine as the first dose and Pfizer vaccine as the second dose developed flu. (Only 10% of those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for both doses developed the flu.)
41% of those who received Pfizer as first dose and AstraZeneca as second dose caught the flu. (Only 21 % of those who received the Pfizer vaccine in both doses reportedly had flu.) A similar increase is seen in symptoms such as colds, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and muscle aches.
No hospitalizations were reported due to symptoms, and no such side effects were reported within 48 hours of vaccination. Also, within a week after the second dose, the researchers found no side effects, such as blood clotting syndrome, a side effect of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson injections. They said the findings were based solely on preliminary data and that similar tests would be carried out on Moderna and Nov-vax vaccines.