Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has allowed the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as the second dose for people who already received the Moderna vaccine and vice versa due to a supply shortage.
The decision was announced following a meeting of the health ministry’s expert panel on usage of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday.
The ministry stated that the demand for COVID-19 vaccines has been rising as all provinces and cities boost their inoculation campaigns.
To ensure all residents receive their second doses after a set period of time, a mixed regimen is now permitted to be applied in case of a vaccine supply shortage.
Accordingly, people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for the first shot can receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines for the second jab.
Those who were first inoculated with the Moderna vaccine can be injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the second dose and vice versa.
Vietnam has acquired various COVID-19 vaccines produced with different technologies, namely viral vector vaccines (AstraZeneca and Sputnik V), mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), and an inactivated vaccine (Sinopharm).
"Due to the general shortage of vaccines, many countries have approved mixed regimens for vaccines produced with the same or different technologies, such as combining viral vector vaccines with mRNA jabs, or mixing two mRNA vaccines produced by different manufacturers,” the health ministry said.
In Vietnam, the scarcity of Moderna vaccine doses has forced many vaccination sites to provide the Pfizer-BioNTech as a second dose for residents who have met the recommended interval.
People who agree to receive the mixed regimen must be closely monitored to respond timely to complications, if any, the health ministry stated.
Vietnam had documented 563,676 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, with 325,647 recoveries and 14,125 deaths.
The country has recorded 559,346 local infections in 62 out of 63 provinces and cities since the fourth wave began on April 27.
Over 23.5 million vaccine doses have been administered since inoculations were rolled out on March 8, with more than 3.7 million people fully vaccinated.