THE NHS has released a statement after a number of patients in the North-East received a different second dose for their Covid vaccine.
Earlier this week, The Northern Echo revealed that a County Durham man had received the AstraZeneca vaccine instead of the Pfizer jab, reportedly due to supply issues.
Chester-le-Street man, Joseph Dodds said he had been warned he may not receive the second vaccine within the recommended twelve weeks if he declined.
Meanwhile, the Newcastle Chronicle reported that a ‘small number’ of patients at Newcastle Racecourse had been offered a different second dose of the vaccine because of supply issues too.
On Thursday, the newspaper reported that the patients had been offered the AstraZeneca jab as there were no Pfizer jabs available at their second appointment.
But following concerns this week, a spokesperson for the NHS vaccination programme in the North-East last night confirmed it had issued the vaccines in line with guidance.
A spokesperson for the North Cumbria and North East Vaccination Programme, said: “Local NHS teams should continue to vaccinate in line with the JCVI guidance which advises that only in exceptional circumstances patients should be offered a different dose and after a discussion with their clinician.”
It comes as a trial is ongoing to determine whether mixing of vaccines is effective as JCVI guidance currently states it does not recommend mixing, unless in extreme circumstances.
It is understood that health experts generally agree that mixing second doses should be safe, but the trial is checking for side-effects or adverse reactions.
The JCVI, which stands for the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation, states it is preferable for those to have the same vaccine type for the second dose, as their first.
But it says that it is “reasonable to offer one dose” of an alternative vaccine if it means they can complete the schedule.
It went on to say that this option is “preferred” if the patient is likely to be at immediate high risk or considered unlikely to attend again.
However, the Department of Health this week refuted any suggestion there had been a shortage of Pfizer jabs despite these claims.
The department was asked why Pfizer patients in the region had been given the AstraZeneca jab as their second if this was the case, but a comment on this was not provided.
A spokesperson previously said the vaccination programme continued to make “phenomenal progress,” while saying it had been clear that everyone who is due a second dose should receive it on schedule.
According to the BBC, the first results of the so-called Com-Cov trial are expected to be available in either June or July, although the trial will run for a year.