Is Taking More Than One Type of COVID Vaccine Safe?
China has been exporting vaccines around the world, but in many areas and countries other vaccines instead of Chinese developed ones are in use and Chinese vaccines are not yet approved. It is too early to attempt to politicize the issue as it is reasonable for China’s medical officials to approve a product that they are familiar with. Should a foreign vaccine induce any problems within China’s population, this would be hugely damaging. Hence, the current caution.
Meanwhile, the European Union has also been suggesting that travel within the EU will only be permitted with EU approved vaccines, for similar reasons. It is a stance likely to be repeated until a global approval system of the various vaccines manifests itself. Here, the WTO has called for IP royalties and patents for vaccines developed elsewhere to be dropped; partially to have faster and less costly global inoculation but also to allow the free sharing of data concerning vaccine technology. That is required to allow inspection and approval of other national vaccines. Western vaccine manufacturers have been unwilling to do this to protect their R&D and patents. But until that data can be shared, it will prove difficult for national governments to approve other products. That means that people will remain unable to travel – inoculated in China with a China vaccine and unable to enter the EU, and vice-versa. Until the politicians can reach global consensus, there will be no return to normality.
Given what we have already seen on an international scale concerning a lack of coordination, and pushback against cooperation, it seems apparent that 2021 can be pretty much written off as regards international travel being back on the agenda. No one is going anywhere anytime soon even as vaccines are being rolled out because there is no global approvals mechanism and there are profits margins to be made from unique technologies that certain vaccine manufacturers wish to protect.
However, the situation also raises the question: what happens if someone is inoculated with two different types of COVID vaccine?
According to official answers from the National Health Commission of China, the safety and immune effect of simultaneously vaccinating two different types of vaccines cannot be determined due to the relatively short development time of the vaccines. Therefore, simultaneous vaccination of both vaccines is not currently recommended.
At Dezan Shira & Associates we have been handling clients in the medical industry throughout Asia for many years, including vaccine developers and manufacturers.
I asked the question, and the answer is, thankfully, there should be no problem. Unless an individual has some immune issues, different vaccines will not interact in a negative way. In fact, should someone receive VaxA and then a different VaxB, it should even boost the immune system. However, it must be noted that all this is in theory – no one has done any of this research yet.
The resulting debate is going to continue for some time. It also raises the question of excessive capitalism within the medical research industry and how to restructure that. The global response to COVID-19 has been massively corrupted by politics and money. The next time such a pandemic breaks out, should it involve a more virulent type of virus, the existing regionalized structure of medical services coupled with vested interests will be utterly unable to cope.
The global population is soon to reach eight billion. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 infected about 30 percent of the global population in two years. Today, were that to occur, 2.4 billion people worldwide would require hospitalization and treatment. That flu had a mortality rate of two percent, and if duplicated in 2021 would cause 160 million deaths.
COVID-19 has had lesser impact – in comparison – it has currently infected 121.9 million people worldwide and caused an estimated 2.7 million deaths.
Restructuring and a fast-track global approvals system for differently developed vaccines should be a global, not political, or financial priority, and the sooner this can be organized, the sooner world trade and economic development can reboot.