Italian PM Draghi changes Covid vaccines for second dose

Italian PM Draghi changes Covid vaccines for second dose
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Photo: Francisco Seco/POOL/AFP
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has had a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine different from his first, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

The 73-year-old had previously had an AstraZeneca vaccine but switched to the Pfizer-BioNTech jab for his second dose.

Draghi’s government earlier this month changed its advice on vaccines, saying those under the age of 60 should no longer have the AstraZeneca jab due to fears over rare blood clots.

Last week, Draghi said he would switch from AstraZeneca despite being over 60 after being told his first dose had given a “low antibody response”.

READ ALSO: Can you refuse to ‘mix and match’ Covid-19 vaccines in Italy?

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she had also received a Moderna vaccine after getting AstraZeneca for her first dose.

The recommendation for those who have already had one AstraZeneca dose to switch to another vaccine sparked a major debate in Italy over whether such a mix-and-match approach was safe, despite this already being common practice in many other European countries.

In an interview with the La Stampa newspaper on June 14th, Health Minister Roberto Speranza stressed that mixing vaccinations was known to be safe and effective, saying: “So-called ‘vaccination crossing’ is something Germany has been doing for two months, which France and Spain have also been doing for some time.”

READ ALSO: Is Italy really going to offer vaccines to tourists this summer?

Several other EU countries including Sweden, Norway and Austria are also allowing people to have an mRNA shot for their second dose if they were first vaccinated with AstraZeneca, after those countries also changed their advice on the jab.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has stressed that the AstraZeneca jab remains approved for all adults, saying the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.


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