The World Health Organization strongly cautioned against the mixing of different COVID-19 vaccine brands from different manufacturers. WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said “It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as to mix and match.”
Very Little Data Available
In an online briefing, Swaminathan warned against mixing different vaccine brands. She said there is very little data is available to assess the health impact. “It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third, and a fourth dose,” she added.
In addition, Swaminathan said that this might turn into a dangerous trend. “There are people who are thinking about mixing and matching. We receive a lot of queries from people who say they have taken one and are planning to take another one. It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as to mix and match,” she said.
Mixing And Matching Different Vaccine Brands
There are less than ten major vaccines currently in use worldwide. They include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Covaxin, and Sputnik. These brands usually require two doses. Then, there are some one-shot vaccine brands available. These include the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and Sputnik V Lite.
“There is limited data on mix and match. There are studies going on, we need to wait for that. Maybe it will be a very good approach. But, at the moment we only have data on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, followed by Pfizer. It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third, and a fourth dose,” Swaminathan added.
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Hugely Uneven and Inequitable
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus referred to the global Covid vaccine supply as “hugely uneven and inequitable”. He said that “some countries and regions are actually ordering millions of booster doses before other countries have had supplies to vaccinate their health workers and most vulnerable,” Tedros said.
Consequently, Swaminathan stressed that it’s important to maintain equal distribution of vaccines around the globe. “We have four countries that have announced booster programs and a few more that are thinking about it. If 11 high and upper-middle-income countries decide that they will go for a booster for their population, or even sub-groups, this will require an additional 800 million doses of vaccine,” she added.
No Evidence Yet For Booster Shots
Meanwhile, Swaminathan also dismissed the urgency of administering booster shots. She said that currently, no evidence supports the requirements for booster shots, contradicting the announcement of Pfizer and partner BioNTech that they are developing a booster vaccine developed to combat the highly transmissible Delta strain.
Instead of obsessing over booster shots at this point, Swaminathan suggested that well-off countries send their surplus vaccines to less-developed regions in the world that sorely lack vaccines.
Instead, these surplus supplies can help inoculate frontline workers and vulnerable populations in countries that have yet to receive any kind of COVID-19 vaccine.
Watch the Global News video of WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan cautioning against mixing COVID-19 vaccines, even as some experts say it’s safe:
Do you agree that it’s not yet safe to mix different vaccine brands for COVID-19? Or, do you think that given the supply situation, it’s okay to mix and match brands?
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