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Vaccine combinations tested as Moderna arrives in UK

Wednesday April 14th 2021

An ongoing study into the effectiveness of using different COVID-19 vaccines for first and second doses is now starting to include two further types of vaccine, it was announced today.

The Com-Cov study began in February 2021 to look at the effects of giving alternating doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. Today (14 April), the researchers announce the inclusion of the Moderna and Novavax vaccines.

Adults aged over 50 who have received their first vaccine in the past eight to 12 weeks will be eligible to take part in the new stage of the study, based at eight sites.

Lead investigator, Professor Matthew Snape of the University of Oxford, UK, said: "The focus of both this and the original COM-COV study is to explore whether the multiple COVID-19 vaccines that are available can be used more flexibly, with different vaccines being used for the first and second dose.

"If we can show that these mixed schedules generate an immune response that is as good as the standard schedules, and without a significant increase in the vaccine reactions, this will potentially allow more people to complete their COVID-19 immunisation course more rapidly."

He adds that this would "create resilience within the system" if there is a shortage of one vaccine.

Individuals will be monitored for their immune responses and any adverse reactions. Once safety is established, any new combination of vaccines will be tested further in a formal study before it becomes part of the standard regimen and rolled out more widely.

* The Moderna vaccine was being introduced into the UK programme as a routine vaccine this week. It is being offered at about 20 sites including in Reading and Sheffield.

The vaccine is an mRNA vaccine but can be stored at temperatures of -20C and can be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures.

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination programme. We now have a third jab in our armoury and NHS staff will be using it at more than 20 sites from this week, with more coming online as supplies expand.”

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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