Dec 7, 2021 - Health

EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines

A health worker administers the Covid-19 vaccine at a Covid-19 vaccination center outside Rome's Termini railway station in Rome, Italy,

A health worker administers the COVID-19 vaccine at a center outside Rome's Termini railway station in Rome, Italy, on Dec. 3. Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced on Tuesday their support for mixing different COVID-19 vaccines in initial vaccinations and booster campaigns.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as several European countries struggle to combat recent surges in COVID-19 cases and amid concerns over the Omicron variant.

Details: The EMA and ECDC said that while research is ongoing, mixing vaccines can "offer flexibility in terms of vaccination options, particularly to reduce the impact on the vaccine rollout should a vaccine not be available for any reason."

  • They also said that the evidence available "points towards an acceptable tolerability and enhanced immune responses" with mixing vaccines.
  • "To avoid a resurgence of cases with a possible increase in [hospitalizations] and deaths, EMA and ECDC urge citizens to follow advice at national and European level to protect themselves, and the wider community," they added.

The big picture: The EMA and ECDC noted that several EU member states have already approved the mixing of COVID vaccines.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October backed mixing vaccines in booster campaigns in the U.S.

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