Sri Lanka begins research on mixing Covid vaccines

By Easwaran Rutnam 

Research is underway on the possibility of mixing one Covid vaccine brand with another and the safety of giving two doses of another brand to an individual who has already obtained one dose of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine.

The research is being carried out as hopes of obtaining the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine from India to administer as the second dose to those who already obtained the first jab of the same vaccine, begins to fade.

Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera told reporters that with the current situation in India it is looking more and more difficult to believe that the Serum Institute will be in a position to dispatch the remaining AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine stocks ordered by Sri Lanka.

Samaraweera said that while discussions are still ongoing they do not expect to receive the Covishield vaccine anytime soon.

As a result, he said that research is being conducted into the mix and match option where one dose can be one vaccine and the second dose another vaccine brand.

He said that if the research is successful then a different vaccine brand will be given to those who obtained the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine.

Sri Lanka has so far used the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine while stocks of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine are currently in Sri Lanka awaiting clearance to be used on locals.

The Sputnik V vaccine purchased from Russian is also scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka soon.

The first dose of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine given over a period of three months and it was decided to give the second dose after 12-16 weeks from the day the first dose was given.

The government had this week commenced the process to give the second jab, first to frontline workers, using around 350,000 doses currently in hand.

Over 900,000 people were given the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine in Sri Lanka.