15:15 GMT13 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom has launched recruitment for the world's first clinical trial that will see volunteers given alternating doses of COVID-19 vaccines produced by AstraZeneca/Oxford University and Pfizer/BioNTech, the Department of Health and Social Care said Thursday.

    "Backed by £7 million [$9.5 million] of government funding, the study will be the first in the world to determine the effects of using different vaccines for the first and second dose – for example, using Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s vaccine for the first dose, followed by Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine for the second", the department said in a press release.

    The study is being run by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium and will also assess the effects of giving participants a mixed-vaccine regimen at varying intervals.

    Simon Stevens (R), Chief Executive of the NHS, watches as a nurse (C) administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Frank Naderer (L), 82, at Guy's Hospital in London on 8 December 2020 as the UK starts its biggest ever vaccination programme.
    © AFP 2021 / VICTORIA JONES
    Simon Stevens (R), Chief Executive of the NHS, watches as a nurse (C) administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Frank Naderer (L), 82, at Guy's Hospital in London on 8 December 2020 as the UK starts its biggest ever vaccination programme.
    "This is a hugely important clinical trial that will provide us with more vital evidence on the safety of these vaccines when used in different ways", Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's minister for COVID-19 vaccine deployment, said in the press release.

    The government said that there were no current plans to alter the UK's national COVID-19 vaccination programme, which sees individuals receive two shots of the same vaccine.

    Russian vaccine manufacturers have also raised the possibility of conducting mixed-dose trials. Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said in early January that plans were in place to conduct mixed Sputnik V-AstraZeneca dosing regimen trials.

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    vaccine, Vaccine, vaccine, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Pfizer, United Kingdom, coronavirus, COVID-19
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