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Taiwan experts do not recommend mixing AstraZeneca and Moderna

Source: Taiwan News by George Liao

As Taiwan now has a considerable amount of AstraZeneca and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, some doctors have suggested mixing the two, but the Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the Ministry of Health and Welfare vetoed the suggestion on Sunday (June 20), CNA reported.

Taiwan has gotten its hands on a substantial quantity of vaccines since the beginning of June — having received 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca donated by Japan on June 4, obtained 240,000 purchased doses of Moderna on June 18, and then received 2.5 million doses of Moderna donated by the U.S. on June 20.

The ACIP held its third meeting discussing whether people who received the first dose of AstraZeneca should receive Moderna, an mRNA vaccine, for their second dose.

Regarding the question, Central Epidemic Command Center specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said at Monday’s epidemic briefing that experts think the mix-and-match approach to COVID-19 vaccines lacks scientific evidence. Therefore, it is not recommended.

Chang said that even though there are some international research papers on the mix-and-match approach, there has been little studied about mixing COVID-19 vaccines. Most cases have been of people taking AstraZeneca for the first dose and Pfizer-BioNTech for the second.

Currently, data is lacking on the AstraZeneca and Moderna combination. Even though Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech both use an mRNA mechanism for their COVID vaccines, they are made by different companies; therefore, one cannot be used as a reference for the other, Chang said. He added it’s hoped there will be more evidence about mixing AstraZeneca and Moderna in the future.

Mixing COVID-19 vaccines is not recommended at this stage, he said. He pointed out that if after a first dose people show side effects a doctor believes are related, they should report it to Taiwan Centers for Disease Control’s vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS), then take another vaccine utilizing a different mechanism, per CNA.

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