Tuesday Apr 20, 2021
KARACHI: Experts are divided over the idea of people using multiple vaccines to protect themselves from the coronavirus, reported The News on Tuesday.
“There is no harm in getting vaccinated with more than one vaccine. It is even beneficial for the person who is getting more than one type of vaccines for protection against COVID-19,” Vice-Chancellor of University of Health Sciences, Professor Javed Akram told The News in response to a question about people using two or more coronavirus vaccines.
Prof Akram is the Principal Investigator of phase III clinical trials of two Chinese vaccines, including single-dose Convidecia by CanSino Biologics Inc and a triple-dose vaccine developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Company Limited.
The professor, however, added that there is no conclusive evidence yet on the mix and match of different vaccines
“Whether it is the new mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna or the conventional Chinese, Russian or British vaccines, there is no harm if a person gets inoculated by more than one vaccine. It is in fact beneficial,” he declared.
The UHS VC added that multiple countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and China were carrying out human trials on the use of more than one vaccine to assess if it generates a better immune response as compared to a single vaccine.
To a query, Prof Akram said in the Pakistani scenario, if one gets inoculated by the two-dose Chinese Sinopharm, then the individual may “also” go for the privately available Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
However, public health expert, Dr Shahzad Ali Khan did not agree with Professor Akram and told the publication that it should not be taken as it is not recommended to get inoculated by multiple COVID-19 vaccines.
“But trials are underway all over the world to assess if mix and match of different vaccines can offer more immunity against COVID-19,” said the head of the Public Health Department at Islamabad’s Health Services Academy (HAS).
On the other hand, renowned infectious diseases expert Dr Faisal Mehmood of the Aga Khan University Hospital was more cautious in responding to the question of inoculation by different vaccines, saying: “Such studies are underway around the world. But their results are awaited.”
However, he dismissed the idea that one could get vaccinated by more than one vaccine. Dr Mehmood said that it would not be possible for an individual to do so as the country’s immunisation programme is linked to the NADRA database. But he did say that some people may take the vaccine “unofficially”.