Scottish health boards told not to 'mix and match' Covid-19 vaccines

Health Boards in Scotland have been told not to give patients two doses of two different Covid-19 vaccines, as this would invalidate safety and efficacy data.

Advanced nurse practitioner Justine Williams prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine at the Lochee Health Centre in Dundee.
Advanced nurse practitioner Justine Williams prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine at the Lochee Health Centre in Dundee.

It comes after NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) suggested at the weekend that patients could be given two doses of two different vaccines.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC told the Sunday Mail: "We will continue to follow the latest guidance for our Covid-19 vaccination programme ... Every effort will be made to ensure the same vaccine for the first and second dose. There is the ability to administer a different vaccine if that is not possible."

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Strong warnings were given from health experts that this should not be done, and Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon called for “urgent and clear public information”.

"Questions about the scientific and clinical grounds for a 'mix and match approach' need to be addressed to maintain public confidence,” she said.

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NHSGGC has since confirmed that the health board will not be giving patients two doses of two different vaccines.

"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will continue to follow the latest guidance for our Covid-19 vaccination programme, including the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI),” a spokesperson said on Monday.

“We will be providing the same vaccine for their first and second dose. based on MHRA and JCVI advice.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "The chief medical officer does not support using different vaccines for first and second doses before research examining this has reported its conclusions, and the Scottish government does not believe that mixing vaccines should be part of our response at this time. It is our intention that people receive the same vaccine for their first and second dose."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that “well over” 100,000 people have received a Covid-19 vaccine in Scotland, as the delivery of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine began.

According to Public Health England vaccination guidance, a dose of a different product can sometimes be offered to complete a vaccination programme.

But there is currently “no evidence” to support treating Covid-19 vaccines in this way, although studies have begun.

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