US agency plans to allow ‘mix and match’ COVID boosters: Report

The FDA is set to allow vaccinated individuals to get a booster of a different vaccine, according to the New York Times.

The US government announced plans in August for a widespread COVID booster campaign, pending federal approvals [File: Rogelio V Solis/The Associated Press]

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly planning to allow people in the country to get a booster shot of a different COVID-19 vaccine than the one initially taken.

The so-called “mix and match” approach would allow more flexibility to those administering vaccines, according to a New York Times report on Monday.

The planned update would come after the FDA in September authorised a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-shot COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 65 and older and some high-risk Americans.

The regulator’s advisory panel has also backed the use of Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

The New York Times, citing sources familiar with the agency’s plans, reported that while the government would not recommend one shot over another, it may advise that using the same vaccine as a booster when possible is preferable.

Federal authorities are expected this week to broaden the number of those eligible to receive booster shots. US health agencies have been under pressure to authorise the additional shots after the White House announced plans in August for a widespread booster campaign, pending the relevant approvals.

A study by the National Institutes of Health last week showed people who got Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as a first shot had a stronger immune response when boosted with vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, although experts have stressed that research on mixing booster shots remains thin.

Several wealthy countries have begun to administer booster shots to those who were vaccinated at least six months ago, despite persistent calls from the World Health Organization and others for countries to first address global vaccine inequities.

Source: Al Jazeera