The Department of Health has sought legal advice on mixing Covid-19 vaccines made by different manufacturers.
According to The Irish Times, legal input has been sought from the Attorney General’s office and other agencies due to the impact of going “off label” and mixing vaccines in a way that was not included in clinical trials. The legal advice will then be passed to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly ahead of a final decision.
Preliminary advice on the issue, which could see different vaccines mixed in a two-dose regime, was given to chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan in recent weeks by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee. However, a formal recommendation has yet to be given to Mr Donnelly.
The Department of Health on Tuesday night told The Irish Times the advice would be provided to the Minister “shortly”.
Proponents of vaccine mixing argue that it could offer more potent immune system responses.
If the decision to mix vaccines within a two-dose regime was made it may ultimately only apply to a minority of people who are not already doubly vaccinated with the same shot. However, it could also play into the rollout of a booster shot campaign, plans for which are currently being examined by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
More research is expected from several trials and studies of real-life data from countries where booster shots have been given.
Preliminary results from studies in Spain, Germany and the UK have raised no safety concerns, but more data is being awaited.
“The EMA will continue to review emerging data as they become available, and the Health Products Regulatory Authority will inform the Department of Health and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee of any relevant updates,” the regulator said
A further 1,508 cases of Covid-19 were reported on Tuesday, with 206 patients with the disease being treated in hospital, 33 of whom are in intensive care.