MOHW awaits WHO Advice on Booster, Mixing of Vaccines

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie says currently there is no recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) to support booster doses or the mixing of vaccines. Dr. Bisasor McKenzie noted that the emphasis, therefore, remains on the administration of first doses to as many persons as possible. 

“The vaccines continue to show high levels of protection against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths after primary immunization and also against variants. At this time, there is no recommendation for mixing of vaccines. The recommendation from the WHO is to take the same vaccine as your second dose, “noted the CMO.

The CMO added that the Ministry notes that the mixing of COVID-19 vaccines is happening in some countries and the information is changing as more studies are done. She says a second dose of Pfizer after AstraZeneca has been shown to produce good response. 

“This is promising. Larger studies are needed however to formulate recommendations. We expect that the anticipated SAGE recommendations will provide further guidance,” Dr. Bisasor McKenzie further added.

The Ministry added that though the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization has advised that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be given a booster shot of all WHO Emergency-use Listing COVID-19 vaccines; there has been no recommendations from SAGE have been given on time intervals between full vaccination and an additional dose. And in the case of AstraZeneca, no time interval has been given for the third dose, but the Ministry anticipates the full recommendations shortly.

Immunocompromised persons includes persons such as; transplant patients, patients with active cancers, persons on chronic dialysis, severe primary immune suppressive disorders, among others.