On Wednesday, the FDA approved extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.
Going ahead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consult an expert panel today, before finalizing official recommendations for who should get boosters and when.
If approved even by the CDC, the move will formally allow “mixing and matching” of shots — making it simpler to get another dose, especially for people who had a side effect from one brand but still want the proven protection of vaccination.
In its Wednesday sign-off, FDA has authorized a third Moderna shot for seniors and others at high risk from COVID-19 because of their health problems, jobs, or living conditions — six months after their last shot. The only change is that Moderna’s booster will be half the dose that’s used for the first two shots, based on company data showing that was plenty to boost immunity again.
For J&J’s single-shot vaccine, the FDA said all US recipients, no matter their age, could get a second dose at least two months following their initial vaccination. Meanwhile, the FDA said it’s OK to use any brand for the booster regardless of which vaccination people got first.
The interchangeability of the shots is expected to speed the booster campaign, particularly in nursing homes and other institutional settings where residents have received different shots over time.