Oct. 20, 2021 -- The FDA on Wednesday authorized booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. The agency also said boosters could be given interchangeably with any of the other U.S.-authorized vaccines in people eligible to get them.

The move to amend the emergency use authorizations for these vaccines gives the experts on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices latitude to recommended a mix-and-match strategy, if they feel the science supports it. The committee convenes Thursday for a day-long meeting to make its recommendations for additional doses.

People who’ve previously received two doses of the Moderna vaccine are eligible for a third dose of any COVID-19 vaccine if they are 6 months past their second dose and are:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • 18 to 64, but at high risk for severe COVID-19 because of an underlying health condition
  • 18 to 64 and at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus because they live in a group setting, such as a prison or care home, or because they work in a risky occupation, such as health care.

Those are the same groups of people the FDA and CDC authorized to receive booster shots of the Pfizer COVID vaccine in September.

People who’ve previously received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine if they are over the age of 18 and at least 2 months past their vaccination.

“Today’s actions demonstrate our commitment to public health in proactively fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD “As the pandemic continues to impact the country, science has shown that vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective way to prevent COVID-19 … The available data suggest waning immunity in some populations who are fully vaccinated. The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease.”

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

FDA.gov: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Additional Actions on the Use of a Booster Dose for COVID-19 Vaccines.”

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