A trial is likely to go ahead in January to find out whether mixing and matching Covid vaccines gives better protection than two doses of the same one, the head of the British government’s taskforce has said.
The trial will begin if the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is approved in the coming weeks, as is hoped. The treatment can only be administered with licensed vaccines.
The news comes as the first British patients begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations from Tuesday, a jab made by Pfizer/BioNTech, a week after the UK became the first country in the western world to approve a Covid vaccine.
Those who take part in January’s trial will get one shot of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and one of the Pfizer injection. A vaccine from US biotech firm Moderna will also be included if it gets approval.
Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines have both been shown to have 95% efficacy at protecting people against the virus. For AstraZeneca’s, efficacy was 62% among the largest cohort given two doses, but rose to 90% among a smaller group given half a dose initially, followed by a full dose.