FDA mulling to allow 'mix-and-match' COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to announce that it will allow vaccinated individuals to get booster shots from vaccine makers that differ from their initial doses, The New York Times reported.

© Getty Images FDA mulling to allow ‘mix-and-match’ COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report

Sources familiar with the matter told the Times that the agency could announce the decision as early as this week. The FDA would not recommend one COVID-19 shot over the other, though it may note that using the same COVID-19 vaccine for the booster shot as the first two doses may be preferable.

The reported decision comes less than a week after a preprint study from the National Institutes of Health found that receiving vaccine booster shots different from what was initially administered is safe and effective. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed yet, found that Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccine booster shots offered the best protection.

The Times noted that this development may disincentivize Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which is administered in one dose and recently received a recommendation from an FDA panel to be approved for a booster shot.

An FDA advisory panel expressed concern with the quality of data presented by J&J because there were ultimately only 17 people included in an analysis who were followed for six months.

Last week, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously to recommend Moderna’s booster shot for authorization by the FDA. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only booster shot authorized by the FDA, eligible to people over the age of 65 and those at high risk of contracting severe cases of coronavirus.

According to the Times, the FDA is expected to authorize booster shots of Modena and J&J’s vaccines. An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider the booster shots on Thursday and make their own recommendation.

Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that he believes people who received their initial immunization from J&J will have the freedom to mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccines.

“I think what needs to be done, and I believe will be done, is that there will be a degree of flexibility that will be left up to the individual based on their individual situation,” Fauci said while appearing on “Fox News Sunday.”

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