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Mix and match your jabs: South Korea kicks off trial mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines

Mix and match your jabs: South Korea kicks off trial mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines
South Korea has announced that it will begin a clinical trial into mixing doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to speed up inoculation campaigns amid delays caused by production issues and safety fears.

The new trial will include 500 military personnel who have received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, examining their immune response after being given a second dose of the Pfizer jab. A timeline for the study has not been outlined but the selection of participants is expected to be diverse, according to a South Korean health official.

Authorities in South Korea were one of several nations that suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine temporarily over concerns about blood clots in recipients of the jab. However, after a review by the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory health officials, South Korea recommenced use of AstraZeneca doses for all over 30s.

The South Korean vaccination campaign has, so far, administered 4,674,151 doses of a Covid jab in the country of 51.7 million. 

The rollout has been delayed by global vaccine shortages and delays to shipments, limiting the country’s chances of meeting its goal of herd immunity by November. 

Also on rt.com Spain says mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer is safe and effective, limited side effects noted

South Korea is the latest in a string of countries to begin trials mixing Covid vaccines to explore ways of speeding up vaccination campaigns domestically and globally. Earlier in May, the CombivacS study conducted among 676 participants in Spain produced positive results that indicate it is safe and effective to combine the AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs.

France and Germany have previously recommended mixing two vaccines despite not having completed the clinical trial data on the safety and effectiveness of doing so. A number of European countries and Australia are in the process of considering the commencement of their own ‘mix and match’ vaccine trials, with Australian Health Secretary Brendan Murphy stating that there is “no good scientific reason” not to get two different shots. 

Since the start of the pandemic, South Korea has recorded 134,117 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,916 deaths from the virus, according to data provided to the World Health Organization as of May 20.

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