Posted on October 22, 2021 in: Professional Practice
Following FDA's lead a day earlier, CDC on Thursday sanctioned COVID-19 boosters from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed unanimous recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on boosters for the two vaccines and on allowing mixing and matching of vaccines.
"The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe — as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given," Walensky said. "And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant."
Regardless of which brand they received for their initial immunization, tens of millions of Americans at risk of severe disease are now eligible to get an additional dose from Moderna, J&J or Pfizer-BioNTech. The flexibility to choose could alleviate concerns about getting a booster among recipients who experienced adverse effects from one brand or who are concerned about the risks linked to another. People who originally were vaccinated with J&J product, for example, have expressed fear of breakthrough infections because of that vaccine's lower efficacy compared with the mRNA vaccines.
The mix-and-match approach for boosters is also likely to benefit clinicians and pharmacies serving vulnerable groups and would also facilitate booster drives at nursing homes and other institutional settings. More than 11 million Americans have already received a booster.