By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new study is trying to determine what happens when different types of vaccines are deliberately mixed up. Researchers hope the results could help relieve global vaccine shortages and protect against variants.

Reeka Trikha has no idea what’s about to be injected into her body.

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She among the more than 800 volunteers, aged 50 and above, taking part in a Oxford University-led trial.

Researchers aren’t just testing one vaccine, but deliberately mixing them up to see what happens.

Some are given a Pfizer “prime” shot followed by an AstraZeneca booster. Or AstraZeneca followed by Pfizer. Others are being given the same vaccine twice, the standard way, for comparison.

Shots are also separated by four and twelve week gaps to see what works best.

Professor Paul Heath is principal investigator at one of the eight trial sites across the UK.

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“With that knowledge, we can have complete confidence that a number of different vaccines can be rolled out and implemented in a population very quickly, very efficiently, without any concern about inadvertent mixing of the combination,” said Heath.

And it’s not just the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, but potentially any combination of any COVID vaccine easing inevitable supply issues around the globe.

Not only that, Heath said alternating vaccines could even produce better overall protection against emerging variants.

“But potentially with a prime boost of different vaccines, the broader response, the broader immune response that ensues will be sufficient to deal with, for example, the South African variant,” he said.

For those who have already had a vaccine, it’s unclear just how long the protection lasts.

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If everyone does need a booster, the results of this trial may help show whether it’d be better off switching up vaccines next time around. Team