Canada allows mixing and matching of approved COVID-19 vaccines

The updated guidance by NACI is based on the emerging research from the United Kingdom and Spain that found matching and mixing Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines both safe and effective at preventing the virus.

Created On: Jun 3, 2021 12:45 ISTModified On: Jun 3, 2021 12:45 IST
COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) of Canada has announced its updated guidance to permit mixing and matching approved Coronavirus vaccines in most scenarios.

As per the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, NACI has worked quickly to adapt the guidance on the use of the Coronavirus vaccines in Canada in order to ensure the optimal protection of Canadians at pace with the ever-changing circumstances during the ongoing pandemic.

Four COVID-19 vaccines, developed by Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca, have been authorized for use in Canada to date.

Updated guidance on mixing and matching of vaccines:

•  Under the updated guidance by Canada, people who have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca Vaccine may receive Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech for their second dose, unless inadvisable.

•  The new guidance by NACI has also advised that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines can be mixed for the first and second doses.

•  However, NACI is not recommending AstraZeneca after the first shot of Pfizer or Moderna due to the limited data and safety concerns on the use of this combination.

What is the basis of updated guidance by NACI?

The updated guidance by NACI is based on the emerging research from the United Kingdom and Spain that found matching and mixing Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines both safe and effective at preventing the virus.

The Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam explained that this is not a new concept. Having a multi-dose series in terms of the vaccines given by manufacturers is something that public health has used over time for many other vaccines.

She further added that when vaccine program and supplies change, this is not an unusual thing to do.

Recommendation to get the same dose:

According to Theresa Tam, while the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has been recommending that the vaccines can be safely used in combinations, the people must try to get the same dose in a series, if possible, specifically when receiving Moderna or Pfizer.

Tam stated that NACI is not recommending just use them interchangeably, but try and use the same vaccine for the second dose. She added that if the person can’t find it or doesn’t know what someone had, whether it's Moderna or Pfizer for the first dose, another vaccine can be considered.

COVID-19 vaccine in Canada:

As per the Public Health Agency of Canada, more than 13 million people have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Canada, in contrast to over 3.5 million of Moderna vaccine and 2.1 million of AstraZeneca Vaccine as of May 22, 2021.

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