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What’s The Best Booster Vaccine, Moderna Or Pfizer?

Written by on December 20, 2021

Getting your Covid booster is essential as Omicron continues to spread through the UK, but is one vaccine better than the other?

The booster vaccines currently offered in the UK are either Pfizer or Moderna, and data so far suggests both booster vaccines offer you a greater level of protection compared to two doses of any vaccine.

However, new research released by Moderna suggests its jab may (slightly) pip Pfizer to the post.

The company said its trial data found a booster dose increases antibody levels 37-fold compared to two original doses of the vaccine. Pfizer/BioNTech previously said its booster dose increased antibody protection 25-fold. 

It’s worth noting also, that if you receive the Moderna vaccine, you’ll only receive a half-dose of the original jab. This is because a half-dose is enough to “boost the immune system well,” according to the Department of Health. 

“This half dose of Moderna is expected to have a low rate of side effects including myocarditis [rare inflammation of the heart muscle,]” it adds. 

Despite the positive data, Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel said the increase in Covid-19 cases from the Omicron variant is still “concerning to all”.

“However, these data showing that the currently authorised Moderna Covid-19 booster can boost neutralising antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels are reassuring,” he said. 

“To respond to this highly transmissible variant, Moderna will continue to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate into clinical testing in case it becomes necessary in the future.”

Can you mix vaccines?  

Yes, you can – and you’re advised to take up whichever vaccine or booster is offered to you.

The Moderna data follows a separate study published in the Lancet medical journal this month, which found no side effects associated with having “mix and match” vaccines. 

The researchers found that participants receiving a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine generated “a robust immune response” when immunised nine weeks later with a second dose of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by Novavax or Moderna.

“We’re showing…you don’t have to stick rigidly to receiving the same vaccine for a second dose…and that if the programme will be delivered more quickly by using multiple vaccines, then it is okay to do so,” Matthew Snape, the Oxford professor behind the trial, told Reuters.

Separate data from the COV Boost study found some people who received “mix and match” vaccines reported slightly more noticeable side effects, such as  fatigue and headaches, but they were mild and didn’t last longer than 48 hours.

Do I really need a booster? 

Yes, yes you do. Separate research from Imperial College London has found that Omicron largely evades immunity from past coronavirus infection or two vaccine doses – whichever vaccine you had first time around. 

Boosters are key to mitigating the impact of the variant, the researchers said, because the risk of reinfection with Omicron is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant

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