LONDON (Reuters) – The UK will allow the combination of different coronavirus vaccines under certain conditions, despite the lack of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of such a combination, an official document shows.
If “the same vaccine is not available or if the first product received is unknown, it is reasonable to propose a dose of the product available locally in order to complete the process”, explains this document released on Thursday.
Mary Ramsay, head of immunization campaigns at England’s public health directorate, said this scenario would only apply in very exceptional circumstances.
“Every effort should be made to administer the same vaccine but when that is not possible, it is better to give a second dose of another vaccine rather than nothing at all,” she said.
Britain, where the epidemic has already claimed more than 74,000 lives, was one of the first countries in the world to launch a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and the first to urgently authorize Pfizer’s vaccine -BioNTech then that of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
These two vaccines are supposed to be given as two injections a few weeks apart, but they are not meant to be combined with each other.
In the document released Thursday, authorities acknowledge that “there is no evidence of the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines even though studies are ongoing.” But they add that if a patient who received a first injection is at “an immediate high risk or is considered likely not to come again for a second injection, he may receive a different vaccine.”
French version Marc Angrand