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More studies need to be conducted on mixing vaccines before any conclusion can be arrived at. According to preliminary studies, an AstraZeneca dose followed by a Pfizer jab delivered 'potent' results.
Concerns and questions are being raised after a goof-up in a government COVID-19 vaccination centre in Uttar Pradesh led to around 20 individuals receiving mixed doses of two COVID-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin.
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The villagers were given mixed doses of both Covishield and Covaxin vaccines at a government hospital in Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Officials claimed no one faced any adverse health effects and those responsible will be punished, NDTV reported.
The villagers were injected with Covishield in the first week of April and then given Covaxin as their second dose on May 14, the report added.
Though the officials assure that adverse effects of mixed doses of vaccines is unlikely, still many questions are being raised about such carelessness at government vaccination centres.
Is it Safe to Mix?
According to experts, there should be no danger of adverse effects or safety events when two vaccines are mixed. But this is only a theoretical assumption. Clinical trials and studies would need to be conducted in order to determine the safety of mixing two vaccine doses.
Chair of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) Dr V.K. Paul said last week, "It is plausible. But there needs to be more studies… One shot of one type produces antibodies and the second shot from another will increase that. Scientifically, there is no problem."
"It can’t be said definitively that mixing of doses can be practised. There is no robust scientific evidence. Only time will tell whether it will be done in future or not, It will depend on international studies, World Health Organization (WHO) findings, etc. Our experts are also continuously studying," Dr Paul added.
What do Studies Say?
Studies are currently underway to see how vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax could work in different combinations. Preliminary results indicate that a combination of vaccines, particularly AstraZeneca followed by the Pfizer vaccine, can "produce a potent immune response against the virus."
However, trials in the UK have also shown that a combination of vaccines is showing an increased occurrence of mild to moderate side-effects in individuals. While all of the side effects were "short-lived and there were no other safety concerns," the data on the effectiveness of the immune response due to mixing of vaccines was not yet complete.
What about India?
While studies are being conducted on the effect of mixing various vaccines, no conclusive evidence has been found about the effects of mixing AstraZeneca’s jabs, being sold as Covishield in India, and Covaxin, India’s indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine.
Without proper studies and trials on the effectiveness and safety of all combinations of the two vaccines primarily being administered in India, there can be no definitive call on mixing vaccines.
(Edited by : Shoma)