WHO Sort of Endorses Thai Plan To Mix COVID-19 Vaccines

Even though the World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned against mixing vaccines, a WHO representative said afterward that his organization was not opposed to Thailand’s mix and match strategy. Officials have approved a plan to administer booster shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who have received 2 doses of Sinovac already, beginning with those most at risk. As the Delta variant of Covid-19 becomes dominant in Thailand, the Sinovac vaccine is less effective.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO Chief Scientist had highlighted the danger of mixing vaccines as very little testing and observation on the practice exists yet resulting in almost no data on the subject so far.
The Thai doctor says, “It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone when it comes to mixing and matching. When citizens decide when and who will take a second, third, and fourth dose, it will be a chaotic situation in countries.”
Following Thailand’s National Communicable Disease Committee’s approval of the booster shot method mixing vaccines, WHO’s acting representative in Thailand issued a more muted warning. According to them, Soumya’s statement was more about the risk of insufficient data and the danger of untrained individuals mixing and matching vaccines. In contrast, national public health sectors that collaborate with government agencies have access to data and research that can help them make more informed decisions.
With proper research and careful monitoring, the risk of the unknown with mixing vaccines is reduced. Thailand has currently approved administering an AstraZeneca vaccine 3 to 4 weeks after an initial single Sinovac dose. They have also greenlit an AstraZeneca booster shot for frontline workers and medical staff after over 600 hospital workers vaccinated with 2 Sinovac doses got Covid-19 infections.
Thailand’s health officials confirmed that the decision to mix Sinovac and AstraZeneca came as a result of peer-reviewed local research carried out in Thailand, and manuals would be produced to educate the public and also the staff at vaccination sites.

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