FDA Authorizes Moderna and J&J Boosters, Backs ‘Mix-and-Match’

A woman receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine as a booster dose at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pa., August 14, 2021. (Hannah Beier/Reuters)

The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines on Wednesday.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will issue recommendations on Thursday regarding which groups should receive boosters and on what timeframe. Once those recommendations are made, booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines could be available within days, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The FDA also authorized mixing and matching coronavirus vaccines, allowing Americans to receive a different vaccine for their booster shot than their original vaccine.

Some research has indicated that mixing coronavirus vaccines may produce stronger immune responses, and several European countries as well as Canada have already allowed residents to mix vaccines prior to booster shots. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau received an AstraZeneca vaccine for his first shot and Moderna for his second.

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The FDA authorization allows any recipient of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to receive a second dose of either the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer vaccines, at least two months after the first shot.

However, recipients of the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines must wait at least six months before receiving a booster. For now, seniors or people at higher risk of COVID-19 because of underlying medical or workplace conditions may receive a booster shot.

The Biden administration authorized boosters for the Pfizer vaccine last month for seniors and immunocompromised Americans. That decision came following some confusion over the authorization timeline, after the president claimed in August that boosters would soon be authorized for the general population.

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