WHO warns individuals against mixing and matching COVID vaccines

GENEVA, Jul 13 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s chief scientist has advised individuals not to mix and match COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, saying that such decisions should be left to public health officials.

“It’s a bit of a dangerous trend here,” Soumya Swaminathan said in an online briefing Monday after a question about booster shots. “There will be a chaotic situation in countries as citizens begin to decide when and who to take a second, third and fourth dose.”

Swaminathan had called the shuffling a “data-free zone” but later clarified her remarks in an overnight tweet.

World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan attends a press conference of the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) during the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, July 3 2020, part. Fabrice Coffrini / Pool on REUTERS

“Individuals shouldn’t make their own decisions, public health officials can based on available data,” she said in the tweet. “Data from mix-and-match studies of different vaccines are expected – immunogenicity and safety must both be assessed.”

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group on Vaccines said in June that Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) The vaccine could be used as a second dose after a starting dose of AstraZeneca® (AZN.L)if the latter is not available.

A clinical study is currently underway, led by the University of Oxford in the UK, to evaluate the mix of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. The study was recently carried out by Moderna Inc. expanded (MRNA.O) and Novovax Inc (NVAX.O) Vaccinations.

Reporting by Emma Farge and John Revill; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Raissa Kasolowsky and Peter Cooney

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