Germany has issued a strong recommendation, the first of its kind, calling for receiving the mRNA vaccine after the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) said that people who receive a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine "should get an mRNA vaccine as their second dose, regardless of their age.
This makes Germany one of the first countries to strongly recommend that people who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca receive either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as their second dose.
STIKO mentioned that the results of the current study show that the immune response generated after a mixed dose vaccination "is clearly superior", adding that although it is not "in a position to make any definitive recommendation on the use of two different doses of Covid-19 vaccines. However, there is a "strong scientific reason" behind this approach.
Marco Cavaleri, head of Biological Health Threats and Vaccines Strategy for the EMA, confirmed that the agency is "aware of preliminary results from studies conducted in Spain and Germany", which "show that this strategy achieves a satisfactory immune response and there are no safety concerns.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel helped pave the way for mixed vaccine use when she received the Moderna shot in June as her second dose following a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Some European countries have previously administered mRNA vaccines as the second dose following a first dose of AstraZeneca on health and safety grounds, rather than for efficacy after concerns about potentially fatal blood clotting incidents.
Meanwhile,countries such as Germany and Spain recommended that people under the age of 60 who received a first dose of AstraZeneca should receive a mRNA dose for their second dose.a