As stocks run low, U.S. experts caution against a decision to administer another second vaccine
Coronavirus – most recent changes
See all of our coverage of coronaviruses
The UK is the first country in the world to accept and use the vaccine from Oxford/AstraZeneca, just as it was the first country to use the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech.
Another landmark decision is that everyone will obtain an initial vaccination with one of the two vaccinations, with a second vaccination at 12 weeks, rather than three or four weeks apart as in the trials, and it has now emerged that, under some conditions, NHS workers have permission to combine the vaccines. Because two different vaccines are used and supplies are not guaranteed – especially with the Pfizer vaccine, which is in high demand around the world – the NHS in England has said that if absolutely appropriate, people can be given a different second dose from the first.
Thus, if stocks run out (or if there are no records on which vaccine was first given), those who obtained the first vaccination from Pfizer will receive AstraZeneca’s version, says the Green Book on vaccine usage for health workers.
Scotland follows suit, but Wales insists it is not going to. But skepticism remains, particularly in the United States, which has already been critical of the British approach to vaccines.
John Moore of Cornell University wrote in the New York Times that British officials “seem to have completely given up on the science now and are just trying to guess their way out of this mess. ” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that “the approved Covid-19 vaccines are not interchangeable” and that “the safety and effectiveness of a mixed series of vaccines have not been assessed.”
“seriously misleading,”seriously misleading,”It’s not official policy,”It’s not official policy,”We don’t recommend mixing Covid 19 vaccines – if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine, you shouldn’t get the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose, and vice versa.”We don’t recommend mixing Covid 19 vaccines – if your first d’s policy is not official.
Both seem to be waiting for more proof from a massive trial taking place in the US.
While they have now done so, both were still critical of the rush to approve Pfizer’s vaccine in the UK. The U.S. has also approved the Moderna vaccine, which was produced and manufactured in the U.S. with substantial Operation Warp Speed funding.
Europe has granted Pfizer’s vaccine emergency clearance, although the fast-track process of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority ensures that each batch must be assessed and authorized at the time of shipment. The same is true for the vaccine of Astra Zeneca, which is why the NHS has only 530,000 doses of the 4 million promised available this week.
If more vaccines are approved and production ramps are increased, demand will grow for them.
It is likely that other countries would be forced to make realistic choices like the UK.