By Tamsin Brown • 17 December 2021 • 12:48
The WHO has given its seal of approval to combining COVID vaccines as an option for countries where access to vaccines is more difficult.
In response to low vaccination rates in many countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a guide with provisional recommendations for heterologous COVID-19 vaccination regimes (the mixture and combination of different vaccines) in order to increase the numbers of vaccinated people around the world.
The WHO supports a flexible approach to using homologous vaccination regimes (single platform) and heterologous vaccination regimes (mixtures and combination).
The WHO said that the heterologous approach would not be necessary for many countries, and it should only be used after careful consideration of the numbers and types of vaccines available and any other limitations to access, along with the possible benefits and risks associated with the products used.
“The provisional recommendations would allow flexibility in national immunisation programmes,” stated the WHO. The provisional guidelines were established by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) at a meeting on December 7.
The WHO warns that there is not a lot of data available for most of the possible heterologous combinations of the vaccines. They insist on the need to fill in the main “gaps” in our current knowledge, including the efficacy and duration of protection from heterologous regimes in comparison to homologous regimes.
There is some evidence that secondary effects are more likely with a heterologous regime, although the symptoms are “mild”.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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