Third trick: is Moderna or Biontech / Pfizer better?

Cruising or not?

Less well-known is an investigation that is currently still in the preprint, i.e. has not yet been reviewed by specialist colleagues. US researchers compared the extent to which homologous (three times the same vaccine) and heterologous boosters (twice the same, once a different vaccine) differ in around 460 people. The result: a homologous booster increased the neutralizing antibodies by 4.2 to 20 times, while a heterologous booster increased the antibodies by 6.2 to 76 times. Both mixing and maintaining the vaccines were well tolerated.

Individuals who received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson and a booster of Moderna had about a 76-fold increase in antibody levels in 15 days. On the other hand, when people received a second dose of Johnson & Johnson, there was only a four-fold increase. A boost with Biontech / Pfizer also increased the antibodies more than Johnson & Johnson itself, but not as much as Moderna.

“Cross vaccinations often lead to a stronger immune response. We know this from the development of influenza or HIV vaccines. With regard to the two mRNA vaccines, I don’t see many differences in terms of whether the same or a different mRNA vaccine is used, ”emphasizes Krammer. The discrepancy between the two is there, but small. The question is what consequences it actually has.

Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson

For Ursula Wiedermann-Schmidt, head of the NIG, there is currently no scientific data that would support mixing the two mRNA vaccines. “The data on the two mRNA vaccines are very good, they offer very potent and very stable vaccination protection.” She currently only recommends heterologous vaccination for people who were first vaccinated with the vaccines from Astra Zeneca or Johnson & Johnson. You should receive an mRNA booster. In the USA, the FDA is currently advising whether it will allow such a “mix and match” approach, ie cross-vaccination. This is based not only on considerations of effectiveness, but also on logistical considerations – if the vaccines can be mixed, there is more flexibility in the distribution.

It is currently not regulated whether the third vaccine can be chosen in Austria. “I wouldn’t welcome doing that. It is not necessary immunologically to choose a vaccine – both mRNA vaccines are available and both are very good, ”says Wiedermann-Schmidt.

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