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CDC Backs Mix-and-Match Booster Shots

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded guidance this week regarding the booster doses for COVID-19 vaccines.  

Experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, say that booster shots can both prevent severe cases of COVID-19 and hospitalization, along with the spread of the disease in less severe cases.  

The agencies updated information regarding eligible populations that can receive a single booster dose, including people 65 years of age and older, adults with underlying conditions (who have a high risk of severe COVID-19), and adults whose employment means they have frequent institutional or occupational exposure to COVID-19.  

Pfizer announced that a late-stage trial of its booster indicated that it restores full protection against COVID-19. The CDC endorsed the booster shots last month for several groups of people. Pfizer and BioNTech added that it would submit data from its trial to the FDA. 

On 20 October, the FDA approved emergency use COVID-19 booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. It also noted that adults can “mix and match” booster shots, meaning that the additional dose can come from a different brand than the original vaccination.  

“The latest moves would expand by tens of millions the number of Americans eligible for boosters and formally allow ‘mixing and matching’ of shots—making it simpler to get another dose, especially for people who had a side effect from one brand but still want the proven protection of vaccination,” the Associated Press reported. 

Similar to the initial vaccination doses, booster shots are free for Americans and are available at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and at some mass vaccination sites.  

According to CNN, the FDA allowed mixing-and-matching after researchers from the National Institutes of Health presented their findings to its vaccine advisers last week.