Germany on Friday recommended that people mix AstraZeneca COVID vaccines with Pfizer or Moderna to enhance immune responses against coronavirus and shorten the interval period between the two shots.
The German government advised people to choose either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their second jab, reported NHK World.
The move came one day after the country's standing committee on vaccinations issued a draft recommendation to the same effect.
The committee recommended the second dose be administered four weeks or more after the first AstraZeneca shot. That's much shorter than the nine or more weeks the committee recommends between two doses of AstraZeneca, reported NHK World.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said that Germany expects the highly infectious Delta variant to account for nearly 80 per cent of infections by the end of July.
So far, more than 55 per cent of Germany's population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. Spahn stressed the addition of the second shot will provide more protection against the Delta variant, reported NHK World.
Last Monday, a research group from Britain's Oxford University said combining doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines had generated a stronger immune response than having two rounds of AstraZeneca in a trial, reported NHK World.
Joachim Hombach, head of the WHO's expert panel, said on Thursday that it was "great news." He noted this can offer more flexibility to countries that face vaccine supply constraints.
But he added the efficacy and safety of mixing vaccines other than AstraZeneca and Pfizer are being studied and that the WHO does not recommend mixing any other types of vaccines, reported NHK World.