Wondering if it's safe to mix two different types of Covid-19 shots, such as getting AstraZeneca now and Pfizer later?
22 June 2021| Last updated on 28 June 2021
Should UAE residents take more than one type of Covid-19 vaccine?
Out of the many approved vaccines worldwide, the only Covid-19 vaccines greenlighted for public use in the UAE are Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm, Oxford AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V.
As the country's nationwide vaccine drive rolls on, a question many of us have is whether is it safe to get one Covid-19 vaccine now and another type later.
Double-dipping with coronavirus jabs in the UAE has mostly concerned residents and Emiratis who have taken the Sinopharm shot when the vaccination campaign began in late 2020.
With health officials opening more Covid vaccine options for the eligible public, those who have received Sinopharm and AstraZeneca may be interested in also getting the Pfizer shot.
Is it safe to mix two different types of Covid vaccines?
While research is still ongoing around the world to determine the effectiveness and safety that comes with mixing vaccines, doctors at the Arab Health Trade event in Dubai suggest that mixing vaccines for a "booster shot" may be the most effective protection against coronavirus for UAE residents.
Several countries have already opted to mix different brands of Covid-19 vaccines to help reduce the spread of the virus, including Canada, Bahrain, France, the US, and Finland.
The decision comes after large-scale clinical trials and studies to determine the efficacy and safety of mixing vaccine types. In the UK, clinical trials found that people who received both AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech had a stronger immune response against the Alpha variant.
Dr. Gehad ElGhazali, lead immunologist at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City based in Abu Dhabi, said that the body's immune system may show a "very strong" response after taking the Sinopharm doses, and boost it with a Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
However, while administering different vaccines may offer stronger immunity against Covid-19, it's important to note that there hasn't been any long-term research as of yet.
UAE officials are also warning against taking double Pfizer booster shots after the Sinopharm vaccine.
Can I get a different Covid-19 vaccine after I’ve already been vaccinated?
Yes, you can. This depends on which type of jab you received.
Here's which Covid-19 vaccines you can mix in the UAE.
Residents who live in Dubai have the option to take a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a booster shot, if they've already received both doses of Sinopharm. You will need to keep at least a six month gap between your second Sinopharm dose and getting the Pfizer shot.
UAE officials have warned against taking two booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after Sinopharm.
Expats in Abu Dhabi who have received both doses of the Sinopharm vaccine can opt to take the Pfizer-BioNTech jab as well.
To be eligible to mix the two vaccines, you will need to get a signed consent form from a physician. There are two consent forms available for free at Seha centres: one must be filled by the patient, and the other by a doctor. Once you receive both consent forms, you can book your appointment.