Covid: Mixing coronavirus vaccines triggers 'robust' immune response, research finds

Will the new findings on mixing vaccines change how people get their jabs right now? ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan explains

'Mixing and matching' doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines generates a 'robust' immune response, a new study suggests.

The research, undertaken by the University of Oxford, found that using Pfizer followed by the AstraZeneca vaccine produced high concentrations of antibodies.

Antibodies offer protection against illnesses.

It is hoped the findings could help vaccination programmes around the world by allowing people to get whatever jab is available, rather than waiting for a match.

However, it is unlikely the UK's schedule will change at the moment.

The 'Com-COV' study found that the order of the doses made a difference.

It discovered that receiving the Oxford vaccine followed by Pfizer induced higher antibodies and T cell - which play a vital role in antibody production - responses.

The study found that two doses of the Pfizer jab saw the highest antibody response, and the highest T cell response from Oxford followed by Pfizer.

The study found mixing and matching doses generates a 'robust immune response’. Credit: PA

Chief investigator on the trial, Professor Matthew Snape, said: “These results are an invaluable guide to the use of mixed dose schedules, however the interval of four weeks studied here is shorter than the eight to 12-week schedule most commonly used for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine."

He continued: "The results for the 12-week interval, which are yet to come, will have an instrumental role to play in decisions on the future of the UK’s vaccination programme.

“Our non-mixed (homologous) vaccination programme has already saved tens of thousands of lives across the UK but we now know mixing doses could provide us with even greater flexibility for a booster programme, while also supporting countries who have further to go with their vaccine rollouts and who may be experiencing supply difficulties.”

If you’re under-40 'in the long run it’s better to wait' 12 weeks between your first and second Covid jabs, Health Editor Emily Morgan reports

Professor Andrew Ustianowski, National Institute for Health Research clinical lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “The fact we now know it works well, in terms of immune responses, when combined with the Pfizer vaccine provides researchers with the valuable knowledge that these vaccines could be used flexibly for those yet to be vaccinated in the UK and globally.”

Four different coronavirus jabs have been approved for use in the UK, with more under review: Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen.

All under-40s are to be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine after evidence of an "extremely small risk" of people suffering from blood clots after having the jab.

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