Germany to mix vaccines for under-60s given AstraZeneca first dose

Germany to give under-60s who had first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine a different jab for their second dose

  • Germany has restricted AstraZeneca vaccines to over -60s over blood clot fears 
  • But some aged under 60 had already been given an AstraZeneca first dose 
  • Those people will now be offered a second dose from a different drug-maker 
  • France has already announced a similar policy while the UK is investigating whether the approach is safe and effective 

Germany will give under-60s who had one dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine a jab from a different manufacturer as their second dose, health ministers have said. 

It comes after the country restricted the jab’s use to people aged over 60 because of evidence it can very rarely cause blood clots, with the young more at risk. 

Germany was not routinely offering jabs to those aged under 60 before the Astra ban took effect, meaning the group affected will only a small portion of the population – likely the clinically vulnerable and other risk groups who had priority. 

Those aged under 60 in Germany given a first dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine will be given a different jab as their second dose (file image)

France last week announced a similar policy, after restricting AstraZeneca’s jab to those aged over 55. 

In France, the policy is thought to affect some 500,000 people.

Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek said the approach will still offer ‘a good level of protection’ to those who have the split-dose vaccines.

The moves come as the UK and other countries carry out investigations into whether splitting vaccine doses is safe and effective, which would allow officials to be more flexible with how the jab roll-out is managed.  

The new policy is in line with recommendations released last week by Germany’s vaccine commission, which also recommended the second injection be given 12 weeks after the initial AstraZeneca dose.

Germany is among numerous countries that have restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to older people after rare blood clots were detected in a small number of younger people who had received the jab.

The European Medicines Agency last week said that unusual blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while stressing that overall benefits in preventing Covid-19 outweighed the risks.

There were 222 cases of these atypical thromboses out of 34 million AstraZeneca injections carried out in the European Economic Area (EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) and Britain, as of April 4, according to the EMA. And there were 18 deaths, as of March 22.

Most of the cases reported were in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination.

According to Germany’s health ministry some 2.2 million people aged under 60 have received an AstraZeneca dose in recent weeks.

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine has come under similar suspicion for the same issue, with US health authorities recommending Tuesday that it be paused while they investigate six cases of clotting.

The World Health Organization has said it cannot recommend switching vaccine between two doses as a protection against Covid-19, due to insufficient data showing the effects.

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