Tuesday, September 07, 2021

PEOPLE who received a first dose of AstraZeneca can now receive the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine as their second dose, the HSE has declared today.

Though the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommends that receiving two doses of the same vaccine are preferred for all age groups, where possible, but “the advice is that it’s safer to receive a second dose and become fully vaccinated, than to remain only partially vaccinated”, according to Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of Public Health at NIAC.

“From today (02 September 2021) people who have received a first dose of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), can now choose to receive an mRNA (Pfizer/Moderna) vaccine as their second dose,” she said.

“AstraZeneca is a two-dose vaccine and you need a second dose to be fully vaccinated. If you had your first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you should get a second dose of the same vaccine,” said Dr Jessop.

“However, for the small number of people who have not had a second dose of AstraZeneca, they now have the option to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose instead if it is suitable for them, which will mean they are fully vaccinated,” she confirmed.

People who wish to do so can attend an mRNA dose 2 walk-in vaccination clinic, where most will be offering Pfizer.

People can go to any walk-in clinic location as long as their vaccination is due and they have their vaccination record card as proof of their first dose.

It does not matter where the first dose was given – whether through a GP, pharmacy, healthcare setting or in another country.

The dose 2 mRNA vaccine should be given at least 28 days after getting the first dose of AstraZeneca, and people are then fully vaccinated seven days after their Pfizer/BioNTech dose, or 14 days after their Moderna dose.

Two doses of an AstraZeneca or an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are needed for best possible protection against COVID-19.

Studies have been done to check how a person’s immune system responds to getting a second dose of an mRNA vaccine after a first dose of AstraZeneca, and they have shown that a person may have a stronger immune system response when compared to getting two doses of AstraZeneca.

People can choose this option because it has been advised by NIAC in Ireland.

It is not yet approved and licensed by the EMA. At the moment, the EMA has approved the use of two doses of the same vaccine only.


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