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CDC approves the mixing of COVID shots

Published on 22/10/21 at 09:29am

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has backed a plan to allow COVID-19 vaccine boosters for recipients of the Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson shots, and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.

The panel of advisers for the CDC unanimously supported the plan, and the flexibility of “mixing and matching” could pave the way for extra shots becoming immediately available to millions of Americans. The action endorses the FDA expansion of boosters on Wednesday.

CDC adviser Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University said it was “priceless” to be able to change up the vaccine for a booster, especially in cases when an individual may be at risk of side effects from one of the vaccines.

Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago are already eligible for a booster, and now specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients also qualify. The recommendations open the door for recipients of the one-shot J&J vaccine to receive a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which have been shown to afford greater protection in a variety of studies.

However, the CDC did not explicitly recommend individuals get a different brand to the one they started with, stating that a booster of some sort was recommended and that “Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose,” and that they have allowed for “mix and match dosing for booster shots”.

Health officials and public health experts have said the booster rollout could be confusing. The panel struggled to ensure the clarity of its recommendations whilst offering flexibility for patients to receive a vaccine of their choice.

Currently, around two-thirds of Americans eligible for COVID-19 shots are fully vaccinated. In spite of the booster rollout, the government has stated that delivering COVID jabs to the unvaccinated remains the priority.

Ana Ovey

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