Hanoi: The Vietnam government on Tuesday announced that it will mix doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to produce the mRNA vaccine shot as a second dose for people already inoculated with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. The decision came after a study led by researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK found that alternating doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines could generate robust immune response against COVID-19.Also Read - Impose Local Restrictions To Curb Mass Gatherings During Festive Season: Centre Writes to States

Vietnam’s vaccination drive is still in its early stages, with less than 300,000 people having received both doses. Until last week, the country has used the AstraZeneca vaccine to inoculate its citizens. Recently, Vietnam has also taken a delivery of 97,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot to speed up the vaccination campaign. Also Read - Odisha Lockdown Update: Jagannath Temple to Reopen for Devotees from August 16; RTPCR Negative Report Mandatory

Although the study is yet to be published, researchers found that in both mix and match schedules—Pfizer followed by AstraZeneca, and vice versa— beneficiaries developed high concentrations of antibodies against the SARS-CoV2 spike protein (which boosts the virus to infect human cells) if the doses were administered four weeks apart. Also Read - Bengaluru Lockdown: Night Curfew Imposed Across City Till August 16 Amid Rising R-Value in Karnataka

The findings revealed that mixing doses of the two vaccines could support countries who have further to go with their vaccine rollouts and may be experiencing supply difficulties.

Earlier on Monday, Thailand had announced that it has changed its vaccine policy and decided to mix China’s Sinovac shot with the AstraZeneca vaccine to speed up immunity. The decision was taken despite the majority of health workers in the island country already being fully vaccinated with Sinovac.

Those who have received both shots of Sinovac in Thailand will receive a booster shot of a different vaccine, the government announced.