You’re Going to Be Able to ‘Mix and Match’ Booster Shots Now

The FDA is expected to endorse people getting a different brand of booster than they got for their original vaccination.
October 19, 2021, 12:44pm
A patient receives his booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine during an Oakland County Health Department vaccination clinic at the Southfield Pavilion on August 24, 2021 in Southfield, Michigan. (Emily Elconin/Getty Images)​
A patient receives his booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine during an Oakland County Health Department vaccination clinic at the Southfield Pavilion on August 24, 2021 in Southfield, Michigan. (Emily Elconin/Getty Images)

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The Food and Drug Administration is planning to officially sign off on people getting a different brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot than the one they were initially vaccinated with, according to the New York Times.

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The move could come by the end of the week, along with approval for booster shots of both the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and would allow for greater flexibility for both vaccine recipients and providers—and potentially better protection heading into an uncertain winter.  

Last week, researchers from the National Institutes of Health presented the results of a study that found recipients of J&J’s one-shot vaccine who then got a full booster shot of the Moderna vaccine produced up to 19 times the increase in antibody levels as those who got another shot of Johnson & Johnson. A Pfizer booster also produced a strong response, according to the study. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine, unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Recipients of the Pfizer and Moderna two-shot regimens who then got the other one also produced similar strong antibody levels, according to the study.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously last week to endorse a booster for anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine six or more months ago. They also backed a booster shot after six months for those at high-risk who received the Moderna vaccine, mirroring a move taken last month for recipients of Pfizer’s vaccine. 

Over the summer, the FDA endorsed booster shots for immunocompromised individuals. 

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died Monday from complications of a breakthrough case of COVID-19, was suffering from both Parkinson’s disease and a type of blood cancer that diminishes the body’s ability to fight infections. His assistant told the Washington Post that Powell, who was 84, was due to receive a booster shot when he became sick with COVID-19 last week.