WHO does not (yet) recommend ‘vaccine switch’ after first dose
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WHO does not (yet) recommend ‘vaccine switch’ after first dose

Credit: Belga

On Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that it does not currently recommend switching to a different coronavirus vaccine after the first dose for the time being.

As many countries have suspended vaccination with AstraZeneca’s vaccine for certain age groups due to a possible link with rare blood clots, there is a risk of problems with the second dose of the vaccine.

It is still too early to make any reliable statements about such a “vaccine switch,” according to the WHO, which stated that there is “not enough data available yet,” during a press conference on Friday.

In France, however, people aged 55 or younger who have already received a first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine will receive a dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for their second shot, the French authorities announced.

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The country already decided on 19 March not to administer AstraZeneca’s jab to people younger than 56, after reports that it could be linked to rare blood clots – but many younger people, especially healthcare workers, had already received their first dose of the vaccine.

Currently, Belgium is awaiting further research to see what should be done with the second shot.

“The health ministers have now decided to acquire additional information, mainly from the UK, since they vaccinated much more already, including second doses,” Ria Vandenreyt of the Care and Health Agency told The Brussels Times.

“We are waiting for an opinion, based on that information,” she added. “However, we still have some time for that, because the first second doses will not take place until May.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times