FDA May Allow ‘Mix And Match’ COVID-19 Booster Shots


Source: AP Photo/Matt Rourke.


Madeline Leesman

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to announce that individuals who are fully vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus can get booster shots different from their initial doses, The New York Times reported this week.

In the report, sources familiar with the matter told the Times that the FDA could announce the decision as early as this week, but would not recommend one booster shot over another. Last week, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine received recommendation from an FDA panel for a booster shot.

In another article by the Times’ Carl Zimmer on Tuesday, he explained how ‘mix and match’ boosters could be on the horizon and that the agency may adjust the language on the three FDA-authorized vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, to reflect the change.

“On Friday, the F.D.A. advisers voted in favor of authorizing a second dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine as a booster, to strengthen immunity in Americans who had received the first dose. But Dr. Peter Marks, the F.D.A.’s top vaccine regulator, said at the meeting that it was possible the agency would not require people to take the same vaccine as a booster.

The agency is considering adjusting the language on the labels for all three authorized vaccines to indicate that providers can administer a different authorized vaccine at their discretion.”

Currently, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only booster shot authorized by the FDA. However, the booster for the two-dose vaccine is only eligible for people aged 65 and over and those who are high-risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19.

Additionally, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only coronavirus vaccine that has received the FDA’s full and final approval. Both the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the Moderna vaccine have been approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.

“In recent years, some vaccine researchers have experimented with a switch from one vaccine to another for the second dose. This strategy is technically known as a heterologous prime-boost,” Zimmer wrote in his article. “Different types stimulate the immune system in different ways, and switching between two vaccines might give people the best of both worlds.”