The Department of Health (DOH) is waiting for additional studies that would prove that combining different coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines is safe.
Citing the country’s health experts, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday it is “prudent” for the Philippines to delay the mix-and-match approach because the available shots here are based on different platforms.
She said experts believe it would be safer to mix jabs that use similar technologies.
“Ang kanilang rekomendasyon, kung saka-sakaling pupunta tayo diyan sa direksyon na magmi-mix and match tayo, unang-una, it will be most safe kung parehong platform ang gagamitin natin (Their recommendation is if we’re going that way, it will be most safe if the two vaccines have the same platform),” Vergeire said in a Laging Handa briefing.
“Alam natin na iba-iba ang platform ng ating mga bakuna. There are mRNA, there are viral vector vaccines, at ‘yong iba pa. So iyon ang una nilang rekomendasyon (As we all know, the vaccines that we have use different platforms. There are the mRNA, there are the viral vector vaccines. So that’s their first recommendation).”
She further noted that the country’s Covid-19 vaccines are under emergency use authorization (EUA) and at present, there is no word yet that “we can do mix and match.”
“If ever the evidence will be strong, the EUA has to be revised also,” she said.
Vergeire said experts are currently waiting for the results of a “big study” on mixed vaccine use, expected to come out by the third quarter of the year.
Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) earlier said those who received a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, which uses a viral vector, may get an mRNA vaccine as their second dose.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s shots use the mRNA technology, a new approach to vaccines that teaches the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response against the virus. (PNA)