Combining AstraZeneca and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is effective -Danish study

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Picture illustration of vials with Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Combining AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine with a second dose from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna's jab provides "good protection", Denmark's State Serum Institute said on Monday. 

  A growing number of countries are looking at switching to different COVID-19 vaccines for second doses, a measure particularly necessary in Denmark after health authorities discontinued inoculations with AstraZeneca's vaccine in April over rare side-effect concerns. 

  More than 144,000 Danes, mostly frontline personnel in the health sector and the elderly, received their first jab with AstraZeneca's vaccine but were subsequently vaccinated with either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna's shots. 

  "The study shows that fourteen days after a combined vaccination program, the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 is reduced by 88% compared to unvaccinated individuals," the State Serum Institute (SSI) said. 

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  That is a "high efficacy", SSI added, comparable to the 90% efficacy rate of two doses from Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine, confirmed in a different Danish study. 

  The study, published last week, covered a span of more than five months between February and June this year, a period in which the Alpha-variant of the coronavirus was predominant. 

  It could not conclude whether the same protection applied to the Delta-variant, which is now the most widespread in Denmark. 

  It also provided no efficacy data on COVID-19 related deaths or hospitalisations, since none took place following the combined vaccination programme. 

  (Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard, editing by Louise Heavens) 

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