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COVID-19 Q&A: Are vaccine doses from different manufacturers interchangeable?

Send us your questions about the COVID-19 vaccination process.
Send us your questions about the COVID-19 vaccination process.(KTUU)
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 3:06 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Alaska and their distribution to individuals who are eligible, ready and able to receive them has prompted numerous questions from our viewers.

Here, we’ll publish answers to your most commonly asked questions. Submit questions you’d like to ask to questions@ktuu.com.

Question:

When one gets ready for the 2nd shot must it be the same “brand” as the 1st shot? Does the state only get one type so that won’t be an issue? (I would imagine it would need to be the same.) - Sherry

Answer:

We posed this question to the state’s health team during one of their regularly-scheduled COVID-19 video conferences. Dr. Elizabeth Ohlsen, a physician with the Alaska Department of Health, said the guidance is to make sure the doses are from the same manufacturer.

“We really want everybody to get these vaccines in the way they’ve been studied. The Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines are very similar,” Ohlsen said, adding, “We don’t have any data on getting one on one, one of the other.”

The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine with doses given 21 days, or three weeks, apart. The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose vaccine with doses given 28 days, or four weeks, apart.

Ohlsen said they aren’t big, known health effects that result when the vaccines are interchanged. The concern is that doing so would result in less protection from the virus, she said.

“We’re really asking everybody when you get your first vaccine, make sure you know exactly where you’re going, what day, what time and which vaccine you’re going to get for your second dose,” she said.

The state receives both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and has in the past said it plans for the availability of second doses when individuals receive the first dose.

When you receive your vaccine, the provider who administers it will give you a card showing which vaccine you received and on what date, and they should also have an internal record to help keep track.

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