In most countries across the world, people are being recommended to get only two doses of the vaccine for maximum protection against COVID. In the UK, those above the age of 50 are now eligible to get their booster shot, but in Australia the advised number of doses per person, regardless of age, still stands at two. They’ve also warned against mixing and matching different brands of vaccines.
One man, however, has evaded all the outlined protocols as he managed to not only get four doses of the vaccine, but also get a combination of AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots.
34-year-old Tom Lee, from Sydney, took to Twitter to celebrate his vaccination achievement, calling himself 'Australia's Most Vaccinated Man.' But the flaunting was not well received by a lot of netizens, especially given that he reportedly got his four doses at a time when some people were not able to secure even one dose.
He has since talked to many local media outlets to justify his decision. He told 7 News Australia:
I did it because I wanted the best possible protection against the coronavirus and I don’t feel bad for taking it off of someone else. I don’t think I’ve pinched it from anyone else.
He had already got his first AstraZeneca dose in March and when he returned for the second dose, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) were recommending Pfizer jabs to younger age groups and that was what he was offered. He continued:
When I got that first Pfizer shot back at the end of May, I didn’t intend to get Pfizer. I went to the vaccination centre expecting to get AstraZeneca.
He decided not to divulge to the staff that he had been vaccinated by AstraZeneca before, and proceeded to get vaccinated. He added:
I was put on the spot. I could either go home empty-handed or I could take the Pfizer and I decided since I had gone all the way to the vaccination centre, I might as well get the Pfizer and get the mixture.
He uploaded his vaccination status on his Twitter profile, and it revealed that even after the initial mix-up, he got two more vaccines of the same combination. Now that Moderna is also being rolled out in the country, people are asking Lee if he is going to double up on that vaccine too. He replied:
No there's no need, it was funny in July when nobody was vaccinated but it (would) just be oddball behaviour now.
The man also revealed that his choice to mix was not taken lightly. He had been following research that showed promising results of mix and match vaccines. He said:
I didn’t go into it blind, there have been studies on mixing the vaccines. I read the summary about a study done in England where they were mixing AstraZeneca with Pfizer and the results were good.
UK’s Com-COV trial that is examining the effects of mixing vaccines on 830 volunteers have shown that getting jabbed by Pfizer after an initial AstraZeneca jab may be as effective as a double dose of the Pfizer jab. However, their research is still at an early stage and the method has not been approved by health authorities.