Confusion has arisen around Lancashire’s vaccination programme, as readers tell the Post that they were turned away from their booster, citing issues with 'mixing vaccines'.
One woman from Leyland says she was turned away from the vaccination site at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, just before Christmas, after a nurse told her she could not have the Pfizer booster because it was different to her AstraZeneca first and second doses.
She says this was a particularly confusing rejection considering she then went to her GP later that day where she was able to get her Pfizer booster.
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She explained: “I was so angry after all of the waiting and being messed about with appointments.
“[It] just shocked me. Especially when the docs were like, sure that’s fine. Stab. There you go. You’re boostered up.”
Another lady says her father, who had also had Astrazeneca vaccines previously, was turned away from all the walk-in centres he tried for his booster, including Blackpool Town Centre, Yeadon Way and Moor Park Health and Leisure Centre, for this same reason.
She said: “They stated they couldn't mix two different Covid jabs as this wouldn't give full protection. He was advised to ring his GP, in the end we had to do our own research on which clinics did the Oxford jab as a booster.”
Meanwhile, one lady says her husband was turned away from Norbeck Castle’s walk in vaccination site without any reason, but the family assume it was because they were offering a different vaccine.
She explained: “He queued up and waited and was only turned away at last moment. He wasn't told why just that no he couldn't have it, even though his last one was ages ago. So we rang up gov tel no and he got it done next day or so at North Shore Surgery. Very confusing and a waste of time waiting.”
The NHS website states: “Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine.
“This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for your 1st and 2nd doses.
“Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine."
In addition, another man reported confusion around mixing vaccines for initial doses, after his partner, who had AstraZeneca for his first one, was apparently rejected at the door of Moor Park because they only had Pfizer, and was only granted the second jab after a lengthy discussion with the receptionist.
He explained: "He had to put pressure on to try to get a jab, and they were not willing to do it.
"He had no ill effects from having the Pfizer jab, but the point was, if they're turning people away, and just saying that's that, then it's defeating the objective of vaccinations.
"It makes you wonder how many people have been willing to go and have a jab but been turned away, because if he didn't put any pressure on to find out whether he could have the Pfizer one or not, he would have been without the jab... it's not helping matters is it?"
Although the NHS website advises people to have the same vaccine for both doses, it reports no danger to mixing vaccines, and a 2021 study of 1000 people, published in the Lancet, suggested that mixed vaccines were not only safe and effective, but could even further boost the immune response.
When approached with these incidents and asked for clarification on guidelines, Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, the body behind Lancashire and South Cumbria’s Vaccination Programme declined to comment, however they did draw attention to the NHS website’s pages.
As well as the aforementioned guidance on mixing vaccines and boosters, the NHS website provides further information on why some vaccines may be suitable for certain people.
It states: “You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you'll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.
"Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.
"-if you're pregnant or under 40 you'll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
"-if you're under 18, you'll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine"