Just six months after receiving two shots of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, some people in Bahrain are being offered booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The decision to mix vaccines comes as the Gulf state is experiencing a wave of virus infections despite having a very high per capita vaccination rate.
The booster is being recommended for people who are over 50, obese or have weakened immune systems.
Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Bahrain’s undersecretary of health, told The Wall Street Journal that Sinopharm accounted for 60% of vaccinations in the country and that it offered high levels of protection. He said 90% of those being hospitalized in the current wave had not been vaccinated.
The country will continue to offer a choice between Sinopharm and Pfizer-BioNTech, the Journal reported.
Both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates used Sinopharm heavily. Last month, both announced they would offer a booster of the same vaccine amid growing concerns that two doses did not trigger enough antibody response.
The World Health Organization approved Sinopharm for emergency use in May, sparking hope that vaccines would better reach the world’s poorer countries.