The United Kingdom has launched their coronavirus vaccine campaign in early December and has already allowed vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Even though the government is speeding vaccination up, they are faced with a new strain of the virus said to be far more contagious – around 70% - and many infections, especially in children.
Furthermore, in their recommendations, the British government has taken all possible precautions and allowed the use of a different vaccine for the necessary second dose. It reads: “For individuals who started the schedule and who attend for vaccination at a site where the same vaccine is not available, or if the first product received is unknown, it is reasonable to offer one dose of the locally available product to complete the schedule.”
Yet, they insist on the fact that “every effort should be made” to complete vaccination with product injected during the first inoculation. This option will be considered “if the individual is likely to be at immediate high risk or is considered unlikely to attend again [for the second injection]”. Doctors underline the lack of data and likely risks. To this, British public health authorities answered that there the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were similar and say they will launch mix-and-match trials this year.
As for Pfizer spokesman Dr. Steven Denehy, he told New York Times that “Pfizer believes it is critical health authorities conduct surveillance efforts on any alternative schedules implemented and to ensure each recipient is afforded the maximum possible protection, which means immunization with two doses of the vaccine”.