Can we mix COVID-19 vaccines? CHD director says testing will tell

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With three different federally approved vaccines on the market, picking and choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

Experts say once you get your shot, it’s important to follow through with the same brand when you get the second one.

“The official recommendations are, that you complete your vaccination schedule with one brand,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health District (CHD), “because that’s the way the studies were done.”

Davis says when it comes to mixing vaccines, the data just isn’t there. Experts don’t yet know if there are benefits or disadvantages.

There is a study going on in the UK to find out if mixing vaccines can actually better prepare your body to fight the virus. Some researchers say it may even help against COVID-19 variants.

Davis says luckily, Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines use similar biotechnology or mRNA, so mixing them will likely still offer protection.

“I believe it is stated that if you accidentally receive the wrong dose as your second dose, the wrong flavor as your second dose, that you do not have to repeat it if it’s Pfizer and Moderna,” said Davis.

If you happen to have an allergic reaction to either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says do not get your second shot.

The CDC reports allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare. Data they’ve collected shows there have been 11.1 cases per million doses.

Davis says because the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine takes a slightly different approach to building immunity, it could be the alternative.

“If they wait a month, and after discussion with their doctor, they can receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson and still achieve full vaccination status,” said Davis.

The CDC has not yet updated its vaccine guidance to reflect the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency approval of Johnson &Johnson. But documents show people who are advised to not get the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, or have an allergic reaction to their first mRNA, could still be considered for Johnson & Johnson after doctor consultation.

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