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COVID-19: Canada recommends mRNA vaccine as second jab for people whose first dose was the AstraZeneca vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine: Canada has till date approved only Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA jabs for use.

June 18, 2021 / 12:31 PM IST
Healthcare workers prepare doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which was authorized by Canada, at Woodbine Racetrack pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 5, 2021. (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio)

Healthcare workers prepare doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which was authorized by Canada, at Woodbine Racetrack pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 5, 2021. (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio)

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) has recommended that people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first shot can take either Pfizer or Moderna – both mRNA vaccines, as the second jab.

"An mRNA vaccine should now be offered as the second dose for individuals who received a first dose of AstraZeneca or Covishield vaccine," Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said while speaking to reporters on June 17, ANI reported.

The country has till date approved only Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccines for use.

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“The mixed-dose schedule provides better protection against the disease and reduces the risk of developing Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia,” as per NACI.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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This comes after 56 blood clotting incident reports were received by Canadian health officials post-vaccination by the AstraZeneca vaccine – 38 of these reports were confirmed to be related to the first dose.

All is not smooth sailing however as NACI has been criticised for “inconsistent messaging” and for delaying the time gap between vaccine doses for up to four months “based solely on acquisition schedules”, the report added.

For full coverage on the coronavirus pandemic click here
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 18, 2021 12:31 pm

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