Did you mix your COVID-19 vaccines? If so, you’re still protected, experts say
Some residents in Atlantic Canada have received two different COVID-19 vaccines for their first and second dose after the National Advisory Committee of Immunization (NACI) approved that mixing brands of vaccine is safe.
On Monday however, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan advised against people mixing COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers.
“We received a lot of queries from people who say they’ve taken one and they’re planning to take another one. So, it’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here,” said Swaminathan.
Canadians have been mixing COVID-19 vaccines for weeks now after direction was received from NACI, who has already approved mixing brands of vaccines, including Moderna and Pfizer to be safe.
"I personally have had a mixed vaccine schedule. I received Pfizer in the first instance and Moderna in the second instance. I will just say that we have done so based on the science and will continue to follow the science,” said Anita Anand, Canada's public service and procurement minister.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Lisa Barrett said even though there is currently limited data on whether the level of protection is the same when mixing doses, it is still safe to do so.
“Some of the data suggests that it's even better to have two different vaccines, so should people feel like they are not protected because they got two different brands of the vaccine? Absolutely not,” said Barrett.
But as data on vaccines has been developing quickly over the course of the pandemic, Barrett says it's normal for people to have questions after hearing about changes.
"There are certainly a lot of people that are vaccine-questioning and that's normal in the context of a brand new vaccine and we're just learning about it as we go, so it's great to ask lots of questions," Barrett said.
With 52 per cent of the eligible population in New Brunswick fully vaccinated, the province is still encouraging people to get vaccinated.
The message is to get two doses, regardless of the manufacturer.
“We’ve given AstraZeneca and the second dose Pfizer, so all of those combinations are approved by Health Canada and they do work. So, we’re asking New Brunswickers to get their vaccine no matter what,” said Dennis Abud, a pharmacist and owner of Jean Coutu in Dieppe, N.B.
On Tuesday, Abud's pharmacy had dozens of appointments booked for vaccines. The only supply they had for the day was Pfizer.
"We are going forward with continuing on the same regimen where the first vaccine that's available is the first vaccine you should get," said Abud.