Baystate doctor addresses booster shots, mixing-and-matching of COVID-19 vaccine | News


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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — On Wednesday, federal regulators gave a green light to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots. They also announced that its okay to mix and match them.

“They look at the evidence of waning immunity and the benefit of the booster,” said Dr. Armando Paez, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Baystate Medical Center.

Yesterday, the FDA approved COVID-19 boosters for those who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they initially received. The move effectively adds 10’s of millions of Americans to those now eligible for a third shot or a second one for those who got the single-dose J&J.

Paez told Western Mass News it’s a decision that could be very helpful.

“It gives a lot of options in terms of what vaccine to use for booster. Some people who may have had a reaction to J&J, for the booster, that person could use either the Pfizer or the Moderna,” Paez added.

U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.

As of last month, the FDA had only approved Pfizer’s vaccine as a booster and indicated only those who’d received Pfizer’s previous two shots could get a third. Now, the FDA has authorized a third Moderna shot for seniors and others at high-risk six months after their last shot. For J&J’s single-shot vaccine, the FDA said all recipients can get a second dose at least two months following their initial vaccination.

As for mixing and matching, the FDA said it’s okay to use any brand for the booster, regardless of which vaccination people got first.

“Based on the available information, it is safe to do the mix and match…There are clinical trials that look into this mix and matching. That’s where they base their decision,” Paez noted.

However, before you roll up your sleeves, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to sign-off before Moderna and J&J boosters are made available. On Thursday, CDC officials are set to consult an expert panel before finalizing official recommendations for who should get boosters and when.

Paez said doctors are looking to the state for guidance on how to implement the booster shot rollout. The vast majority of Americans, who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, have received the Pfizer or Moderna shots, while about 15 million have received the J&J vaccine.

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