On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) authorized boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, giving its approval for people to “mix and match” booster shots. The agency granted emergency use authorization for the booster doses; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) must also give its approval before additional shots get in arms. The CDC is scheduled to meet Thursday to examine data and requests related to the available coronavirus vaccines.
The FDA approval comes after an advisory committee recommended their authorization last week. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said: “Today’s actions demonstrate our commitment to public health in proactively fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. 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, including the most serious consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death. 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.”
The FDA authorized a single booster dose of the Moderna vaccine at least six months after completion of the two-dose regimen for individuals 65 years and older, or 18 to 64 years old who also have a high risk of severe COVID-19 or have frequent institutional or occupational exposure to the virus. Individuals over the age of 18 may also receive a single booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months after their initial one-dose vaccine. The FDA and CDC have already signed off on booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans over 65 and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health risks that make them more vulnerable to infection.