COVID-19 AstraZeneca issues: Pfizer, Moderna are ‘preferred’ for second shot, U.S. travel problems may arise

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now recommends that people who have received a single dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine receive an mRNA vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine for their second dose.
“An mRNA vaccine is now preferred as the second dose for individuals who have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca / COVISHIELD vaccine based on emerging evidence of a potentially better immune response from this blended vaccine regimen and to reduce the potential risk of VITT [Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia] in the context of viral vector vaccines, "says the NACI recommendation.
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Despite these guidelines, the committee also signals that Canadians fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca "should be sure that the vaccine offers good protection against infection and very good protection against serious illness and hospitalization".
"The emerging evidence suggests better immune responses when a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is followed by a second dose of the Pfzier BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccine," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, at a news conference Thursday.
"The previous NACI recommendation that people who wished to be vaccinated earlier could receive a viral vector vaccine instead of waiting for mRNA, reflected the supply of mRNA vaccines at the time."
Canadians who received the AstraZeneca vaccine used social media to raise concerns about the changes.
However, some continue to say that they are comfortable with two doses of AstraZeneca.
Dr. Tam stressed that NACI guidelines have evolved with new knowledge, but acknowledged that the changes made can be difficult to understand and catch up with.
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