(Island Health)

The Canadian government and National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) confirmed the safety of interchange between COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday.

During their daily COVID-19 update on Tuesday, June 1st, BC health officials confirmed that those who have received AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine may receive any of the mRNA vaccines (either Pfizer or Moderna). Pfizer or Moderna vaccines may mix or match between each other.

Before mixing, health professionals should be aware of any contraindications.

NACI considered short-term side effects, the risk of severe blood clots with low blood platelets associated with the AstraZeneca, and immune responses produced by a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

NACI also stated that mixing vaccines is not a new concept.

“Similar vaccines from different manufacturers are used when vaccine supply or public health programs change. Different vaccine products have been used to complete a vaccine series for influenza, hepatitis A, and others,” NACI said in a statement.

Several European countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and Sweden, began offering a second dose of an mRNA vaccine to those who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca due to vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) that is associated with the viral vector vaccine.

Clinical trials from the UK and Germany, reported on the safety of mixed schuldes, and a report from Spain reported both the safety and immune responses produced from mixed COVID-19 vaccine schedules.

Island Health reported their first case of VITT on Monday in a man in his 30’s who is currently in hospital.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Premier Horgan, who received an AstraZeneca vaccine, repeated a similar statement he’s said before regarding receiving a different second-dose.

“The best vaccine is the one that is offered to you,” said Premier Horgan in a press conference on Tuesday.

So far, 70.4% of all adults in BC and 67% of those 12 and older have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, 20% of the total doses administered across BC were second doses.

Manitoba became the first province in Canada to allow mixing and matching of vaccine doses.

“The public health community values the advice of Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization in supporting the development of COVID-19 immunization policies based on the latest scientific evidence,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

“This rapid response on the interchangeability of authorized COVID-19 vaccines will guide decision-making by provinces and territories as we continue to roll-out Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.”

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