AstraZeneca will test Sputnik V component in clinical trials of its own vaccine. Image Source: IANS News

Berlin, April 14 : People below 60 years of age in Germany who were given the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose will switch to a different vaccine for the second dose, German federal and state health ministers have decided.

The decision follows a recommendation by Germany's top vaccine authority, Stiko, at the beginning of the month, DPA news agency reported.

"The solution that has now been found offers good protection for people," Bavarian lawmaker Klaus Holetschek, who chaired the Tuesday evening meeting, told DPA.

The second jab would be with either the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, which were a good alternative, "especially in the third wave" of the pandemic, Holetschek said.

Stiko head Thomas Mertens also joined the ministers' session.

Only in individual cases and after an individual risk analysis with a doctor could AstraZeneca also be used for the second vaccination.

The decision comes after a few cases of blood clots arose after vaccination with AstraZeneca that had led to a complete halt, or in some cases just a pause, in the use of AstraZeneca in some countries for some age groups.

Experts suspect that the very low risk of thrombosis mainly affects younger people.

AstraZeneca is being used in Germany only for people over 60, who are at a higher risk of dying due to Covid-19.

Official figures suggest about 2.2 million Germans under 60 have already received a first vaccination with AstraZeneca.

On Tuesday, federal health agencies in the US recommended a pause in the administration of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine and its roll-out in Europe and in South Africa was delayed as health authorities investigate a potential link to rare blood clots.

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