Home » News » FDA expected to allow ‘mix and match’ on Covid-19 vaccine boosters

FDA expected to allow ‘mix and match’ on Covid-19 vaccine boosters

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to allow giving Covid-19 vaccine booster shots that are a different vaccine type from the one used in initial doses, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Sources confirmed that The New York Times , reported Monday that FDA was considering the move.

This approach is also known as “mix and match”. The approach was found safe and effective by the National Institutes of Health.

The sources said Tuesday that an announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.

State health officials have been asking for such flexibility since late last month, when the FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot, to be given at least six months after an initial series.

An FDA advisory panel voted last week to recommend emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s and Moderna’s booster shots.

Mix will allow for vaccination clinics in places such as nursing homes. According to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, instead of having vaccine providers bring all three companies’ doses, providers can just bring what they have in stock.

A source stated that the process must be moved quickly to allow doctors flexibility, and because some people have started receiving booster shots that differ from their first round of vaccinations.

The Times reported the government wouldn’t recommend any vaccine over another, but that it might still prefer that booster shots be given with the same vaccine that was used for the first round of vaccinations.

Allowing Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients to receive Pfizer or Moderna booster shot could lead to a decline in demand and mean that there could be a shortage of the vaccine. State health officials warn that this could cause a wasteful use of vaccines already on the shelves. A NIH study on mixing and matching revealed that people who had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were more likely to have stronger antibodies after receiving booster shots from Moderna or Pfizer.

People who were originally vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and got either company’s booster shot produced similarly strong immune responses, the researchers found.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, stated Tuesday that reports suggesting that the FDA might allow a mix and match approach were good news.

“Clinically, all the data says that mixing and matching is just fine, there’s no downside,” Jha said. It could help with logistics because everyone would be able to choose the right shot.

More than 104 million of the people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the U.S. got the Pfizer vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 69 million people got the Moderna vaccine, and more than 15 million got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC.

Image: Geoff BennettGeoff Bennett

Geoff Bennett is a White House correspondent for NBC News.

Laura Strickler

Laura Strickler is an investigative producer in the NBC News Investigative Unit based in Washington.

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