Dutch Health Council researching if Covid vaccines can be combined

THE HAGUE - Caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has approached the Health Council to find out whether different Covid-19 vaccines can be safely combined. The advice from the advisory body on the matter is expected at the end of May, De Jonge wrote in a letter to Tweede Kamer on Wednesday.

A study conducted in the United Kingdom showed that people who received jabs from different producers were more likely to experience side effects, medical journal Lancet reported. The research was conducted among 461 participants who received two injections of Covid-19 vaccines four weeks apart. A number of people were given the Pfizer vaccine as a first dose and were later injected with an AstraZeneca jab. The remaining participants were given the same jab both times.

Participants who received two different vaccines reported more side effects such as fatigue, headache, and muscle pain after their second shot than people who received the same vaccine twice. Lead investigator Matthew Snape says no serious safety concerns arose.

"We now know that common side effects are more likely to occur when you mix these vaccines, but research is ongoing and we have yet to see if combining vaccines will lead to a stronger immune response," Anke Huckriede, professor of vaccinology of the University of Groningen told NOS in her response to the study.

The possibility of combining different vaccines arose months ago, as it can help eliminate a logistics bottleneck in the vaccination program. "It is still too early to say whether combining corona vaccines is a good idea," Huckriede added.

In April, health authorities in France advised that people under 55 who had one shot of AstraZeneca can be given a different vaccine as a second shot.

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