BERLIN: Germany on Friday recommended people mix AstraZeneca Covid vaccines with Pfizer or Moderna to improve immune responses against the coronavirus and shorten the interval between the two injections.
The German government has advised people to choose the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their second vaccine, NHK World reported.
The decision came a day after the country’s standing committee on vaccinations released a draft recommendation to the same effect.
The committee recommended that the second dose be given four weeks or more after the first injection of AstraZeneca. This is much shorter than the nine weeks or more recommended by the committee between two doses of AstraZeneca.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany expects the highly infectious Delta variant to account for nearly 80% of infections by the end of July.
So far, more than 55% of the German population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. Spahn stressed that adding the second hit would provide more protection against the Delta variant, NHK World reported.
Last Monday, a research group from the University of Oxford said the combination of doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines generated a stronger immune response than two sets of AstraZeneca in one trial.
Joachim Hombach, head of the WHO expert group, said on Thursday that it was “excellent news”. He noted that this may provide more flexibility for countries facing vaccine supply constraints.
However, he also added that the effectiveness and safety of mixing vaccines other than AstraZeneca and Pfizer are under investigation and the WHO does not recommend mixing other types of vaccines.