A UK study found that six different Covid vaccines are safe and effective when used as boosters

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On August 24, 2021, emergency medical technician Ethan Hall injected his Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 booster into a 66-year-old kidney transplant patient Mark Turney at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

Joseph Precious | AFP | Getty Images

A study in the United Kingdom found that six different Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective when used as booster doses.

The peer-reviewed Phase II trial published in the medical journal The Lancet on Thursday examined the safety and effectiveness of seven vaccines given after two initial doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines .

The vaccines included in the study are those produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Valneva and Curevac.

The study involved 2,878 adults over the age of 30 and found that none of the seven vaccines caused safety issues. Fatigue, headache, and pain at the injection site are the most common side effects, which mainly occur in young people.

A total of 912 participants experienced adverse events due to the booster injection, and 24 serious events were reported during the study period.

The authors of the study stated that the participants were “in good health” and they were recruited to participants from 18 different locations in the UK. About half of the people received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and the rest received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Approximately half of the study participants were over 70 years old. Some people were put into a control group and given a meningococcal vaccine as a placebo.

Different immune responses

Four weeks after the booster injection, the researchers measured the participants’ antibody levels against the coronavirus spike protein.

Spike protein is a key part of the structure of coronavirus, allowing it to enter human cells.

The T cell response was also monitored, which plays a central role in fighting viral infections and may have some impact on the severity of Covid-19.

These results are measured for alpha, beta, and delta variants and original strains that first appeared in China.

The study found that 10 to 12 weeks after two doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, all seven vaccines can boost immunity.

According to the study, all vaccines except Valneva boosted the participants’ immunity. The first two doses of the participants were Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Among the participants who had initially received two doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 28 days after the third injection, spike protein attack antibody levels were 1.8 times higher (after Valneva) and 32.3 times (after Moderna), depending on the specifics Vaccines used in boosters. In patients who took Pfizer BioNTech the first two times, the increase in antibody levels after the booster immunization ranged from 1.3 times higher (after Valneva) to 11.5 times (after Moderna).

Research limitations

However, the authors of the study pointed out that they did not study the effectiveness of different combinations of enhancements in preventing Covid transmission, hospitalization and death. They added that the relationship between antibody levels 4 weeks after the booster immunization and long-term immunity is still unknown.

Saul Faust, trial leader and director of the NIHR clinical research facility at the University of Southampton Hospital, said the findings were “very encouraging.”

“[This study] In his press release on Thursday, he said that while providing confidence and flexibility in developing booster plans in the UK and globally, other factors such as supply chain and logistics are also at play.

“Further work will generate data three months and one year after people receive boosters, which will help to understand their impact on long-term protection and immune memory.”

Other limitations include the age range of participants, the majority of people participating in the study are white, and the shortened time between doses, which the report author says may weaken the immune response.

The research team is now studying the effect of the enhancer seven to eight months after the initial dose, and results are expected in 2022.

In the UK, most people get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine as a booster, although some people get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine when there is no alternative.

The US FDA has authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to be used in the country’s intensive program, while in Israel, only Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are used.

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