FDA to Authorize Mix and Match Approach for Covid Booster Injections

“The first thing I heard from the Secretaries of State for Health was the need for permissive language around a blended approach,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, senior health official for Maine and president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

What to know about Covid-19 booster injections

The FDA has cleared booster shots for millions of recipients of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna beneficiaries who are eligible for a recall include people 65 years of age and older and young adults at high risk of severe Covid-19 due to medical conditions or their workplace. Eligible Pfizer and Moderna beneficiaries may receive a booster at least six months after their second dose. All Johnson & Johnson recipients will be eligible for a second injection at least two months after the first.

Yes. The FDA has updated its clearances to allow medical providers to boost people with a different vaccine than the one they originally received, a strategy known as “mix and match.” Whether you have received Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer-BioNTech, you may receive a booster of any other vaccine. Regulators have not recommended any vaccine over another as a booster. They have also remained silent on whether it is best to stick to the same vaccine when possible.

The CDC said the conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: hypertension and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorders; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.

The FDA has cleared the boosters for workers whose work puts them at high risk of exposure to potentially infectious people. The CDC says this group includes: emergency medical workers; education workers; food and agricultural workers; manufacturing workers; correctional workers; workers in the US postal service; public transport workers; employees of grocery stores.

Yes. The CDC says the Covid vaccine can be given regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy websites allow people to schedule a flu shot along with a booster dose.

West Virginia Covid-19 Tsar Dr Clay Marsh said the state has a larger supply of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines than Johnson & Johnson, so officials may prefer to use them for reminders for convenience. Others said the option to switch vaccines could streamline the administration of boosters.

“The impetus for states and local health departments was that if they went to a community site or long-term care facility and started providing reminders, it was a little inefficient to show up somewhere and to say, “We’re just doing the folks who got Pfizer,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territory Health Officials. “When you have a captive audience, you want to take advantage of it. “

Still, more options could lead to more confusion over booster shots, some experts have said. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the boosters this week for all Johnson & Johnson recipients 18 and older. But the only Moderna beneficiaries who should become eligible for the boosters are those who are at least 65 years of age or otherwise considered high risk, following the same eligibility requirements for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients.

Jeannette Y. Lee, a biostatistician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a member of the FDA’s expert panel, warned Friday that allowing people to switch from their original type of vaccine could be “very , very complicated in terms of message. “

It is still unclear what dose of Moderna’s vaccine might be allowed as a booster for recipients of other vaccines. Last week, the advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend that Moderna recipients receive a third injection of this vaccine as a booster, but at only half a dose.

Dr Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, publicly suggested on Sunday that the government was heading for more leeway, at least for Johnson & Johnson beneficiaries. “I believe there will be a certain degree of flexibility in what a person who has obtained the J.&J. can do originally either with J. & J. or with the mix-and-match of other products, ”he told“ Fox News Sunday ”.

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