Answering your questions: Mixing and matching COVID-19 booster shots

Virus Outbreak Boosters
Posted at 9:49 PM, Oct 19, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The FDA is expected to approve booster shots for both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday. The FDA is also expected to say Americans can mix and match COVID-19 booster shots when it comes time for them to take the additional dose.

"The FDA has already approved boosters for Pfizer. We anticipate the FDA will approve boosters for Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine," Dr. Thomas Russo, Chief of Infectious Disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, said, "The FDA will also approve of a mix and match strategy. Which means, regardless of which vaccine you initially received, you can receive a booster of any of the other vaccines."

Dr. Russo said he expects those 65-years-old and older and those with preexisting health conditions will be approved for the Moderna booster, similar to the approval of Pfizer. Dr. Russo said he expects all of those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be approved for a booster.

Dr. Russo said those who initially took the Johnson and Johnson vaccine should take a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot.

"There is an increasing body of data that suggests if you receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine initially, and subsequently receive the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine, that your immune response, the amount of antibodies you produce, is much much greater than if you receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as a booster dose," Dr. Russo said.

Dr. Russo said the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson boosters are the same as the initial dose.

"For the Moderna vaccine it's almost certainly going to be a half dose. If one chooses to get a second Johnson and Johnson vaccine, they will likely be approved for the same dose. That was also the same case for Pfizer," Dr. Russo said.

The FDA is expected to make an announcement regarding the approval of COVID booster shots Wednesday. Then, the CDC will have to approve as well.