The permanent vaccination commission in Germany (STIKO) has adjusted its recommendations and now recommends using an mRNA vaccine for the second vaccination instead of a second vaccination with Astra Zeneca. Even the German Chancellor Angela Merkel received the so-called cross-vaccination, in which 2 different vaccines are combined.
This Monday, the national immunization panel followed suit. Even if cross-vaccination is not yet explicitly recommended as in Germany, it should be offered at the patient’s request; the Austrian Medical Association also advises it. So what do we know so far about the effectiveness of the vaccine combination? Here is a brief summary.
In May, researchers at Oxford University published preliminary data from a study in the journal The Lancet. Those who use two different vaccines for Corona vaccination have an increased likelihood of mild to moderate side effects, he said, but it offers slightly better protection. The data situation was indeed still very thin at that time.
Later, Spanish scientists followed up. Their study was conducted at five clinics in Spain and involved 637 subjects under the age of 60. Their conclusion: the combination worked similarly well as two vaccinations with the same active ingredient. However, stronger vaccination reactions as in the Oxford study could not be observed.
A recent study by the Charité hospital in Berlin showed that the side effects decrease the longer the interval between the first and second vaccination. The researchers observed good tolerability and, in some cases, increased efficacy. Those vaccinated mostly reported only arm pain as side effects after the booster (the 2nd vaccination), rather than systemic reactions such as fever or muscle pain.
Leif Erik Sander, head of the Infectious Immunology and Vaccine Research Group at Charité Berlin, told Deutschlandfunk radio, “The indications are that the immune response is very well developed and possibly even slightly improved.”
According to microbiologist Martin Moder, who summarized the results on Twitter, the ability of the antibodies to bind tightly to the spike protein was most pronounced with cross-inoculation.
So, in conclusion, even though the medical efficacy has not yet been conclusively established, data from a large number of studies suggest an improved immune response or at least a similar effect.
With the adjustment of the recommendation, Vienna now also wants to start cross-vaccination. The physician in charge should document the patient’s informed consent as well as the patient’s express will.