New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continues in India and beyond amid the acute shortage of vaccines in various middle and low-income countries. As the vaccines run short, various countries have started to seriously consider mixing and matching different vaccine shots, which experts say, have the potential to be proven as a short in the arm of fighting the spread of the pandemic.

Moreover, countries in the west are also planning to inoculate their fully vaccinated populations with a 'booster shot' in the wake of threat from newly emerging COVID-19 variants.

UK, Canada allow vaccine mix-ups

United Kingdom (UK) raced ahead of the world way back in January 2021 to allow its citizens to mix and match their two vaccine shots, in case the vaccine they received as the first dose is not available at the given moment. The UK, based on a clinical trial launched in February, allowed its health authorities to use Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine shots interchangeably.

Canada on June 1 also announced that people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may receive Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna as their second.

France, Spain, Sweden also allowed the mixing of vaccine shots

Madrid-based CARLOS III Health Institute in a study conducted in May deemed mixing of AstraZeneca shot with any of the mRNA vaccine shot available. Following this development, Spain allowed its citizens who have received the first vaccine dose of AstraZeneca to complete their vaccination by taking the second vaccine dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Following this, France and Sweden also allowed their citizens who have taken one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to take one of the approved mRNA vaccines as the second dose.

AstraZeneca shot is manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India. In India, the AstraZeneca shot is being inoculated under the name of Covishield.

UAE, Bahrain allow Pfizer-BioNTech as a booster shot

Countries in Arab, such as the UAE and Bahrain which have vaccinated huge proportions of their demographics with Chinese Sinopharm vaccine shots, have started to give booster shots to their citizens to enhance their immunity against COVID-19. The booster shot is being given as a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine dose.

Will India allow the mixing of COVID-19 vaccine shots?

Until now, India does not recommend the mixing of COVID-19 vaccine shots. Instead, when the reports of vaccine mix-ups came from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, authorities raised the alarm. Citing the lack of clinical data, the Indian Health Ministry is yet to take cognisance to recognise the efficacy concerns if vaccine mix-ups are performed in India as well to complete the vaccinations.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma