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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Is it possible to mix and match Covid-19 vaccines? Expert says no

 

Anyone who has a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should not get the second dose.

PETALING JAYA: A senior pharmacist says both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine must be administered from the same type of vaccine approved by the government.

Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amrahi Buang said those who registered for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme were not allowed to choose the type of vaccine or request to be vaccinated with a different type of vaccine for each dose.

However, Amrahi said the mix-and-match approach to Covid-19 vaccination might be considered for those who had severe allergic reactions after getting their first dose.

“Other than those with an allergic reaction, you cannot mix and match your vaccine doses,” he said in a Covid-19 vaccine webinar organised by the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy and Research For Social Advancement tonight.

This comes as those who had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were recommended not to get the second dose.

Speaking at the same webinar, KPJ Damansara gynaecologist Dr Imelda Balchin advised pregnant women with existing medical conditions or those who work as frontliners to be vaccinated as they are at increased risk of severe Covid-19.

“I think the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the side effects,” she said.

However, she added that all other pregnant women should wait before taking the vaccine, at least until studies on the vaccines have been completed.

“For now, we still don’t have enough information on the vaccine,” she added.

Meanwhile, a Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital nephrologist, Dr Rafidah Abdullah said to ensure the vaccination programme was a success, there is a need to reach out to the people who are still “on the fence”.

She advised people to obtain information on the vaccine from official sources such as the health ministry, Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee, and through the MySejahtera app.

The health ministry had so far given conditional approval for three Covid-19 vaccines.

The three vaccines are Covid-19 AstraZeneca solution for injection, manufactured by MedImmune Pharma BV Netherland; CoronaVac suspension for injection by Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd; and Comirnaty concentrate for dispersion for injection by Pfizer.

In a statement, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the conditional approval meant that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency will review the data by these companies.

“This is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines are updated constantly as well as the benefits over the risks of these vaccines remain positive.”- FMT

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