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A Swedish woman receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

The Swedish Health Agency on Tuesday recommended that people under 65 years old who received the first shot of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine should get a different vaccine for the second shot.

Why it matters: There are no definitive studies regarding immune responses when initial and follow-up vaccine doses are different. The agency said that when results on mixing different doses are released they will evaluate whether the recommendation should be changed.

  • Researchers from the University of Oxford in February began a trial where people received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after a dose of AstraZeneca's or vice versa, per the New York Times. They will analyze the participants' blood to see how they respond to the mixing.

What they're saying: "The recommendation that people under the age of 65 should not be vaccinated with AstraZeneca's vaccine Vaxzevria remains for the time being," the agency said

  • "People under the age of 65 who have already received a dose of Vaxzevria should instead be offered a second dose of so-called mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna."
  • The agency is recommending that those who received their first AstraZeneca dose should receive a second dose of an mRNA vaccine approximately 12–15 weeks after, and no additional booster mRNA dose is required.
  • For people over 65, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks.

Go deeper

Apr 20, 2021 - Health

EU regulator: Benefits of J&J vaccine outweigh risk of rare blood clots

Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Tuesday that unusual blood clots should be listed as a "very rare" side effect of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine, but that the benefits of the shot still outweigh the risks.

Why it matters: The agency's determination of a "possible link" to a rare kind of blood clot comes ahead of an expected ruling by the U.S. FDA this week on whether to lift its pause on the J&J vaccine rollout.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 20, 2021 - Health

Where seniors remain vulnerable to the coronavirus

Expand chart
Data: CDC and Simon Willison; Note: The last reliable figure reported for New Hampshire was 83.9% on April 6, 2021; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 80% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, per the CDC, but millions across the country remain unvaccinated — particularly in the South.

Why it matters: Seniors who have yet to receive their shot remain highly vulnerable to the virus even as the country overall becomes safer.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans say J&J pause was the right call

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Most Americans support the pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and so far there's no evidence that it's leading to broader vaccine hesitancy, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Driving the news: In our weekly national survey, 91% of respondents were aware of the temporary pause recommended by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention. Of those, 88% said the pause was a responsible decision.

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