The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to announce Wednesday that people can mix and match their COVID vaccines and booster shots, a move that would give health officials more flexibility as they try to immunize as many Americans as possible.
The FDA wouldn’t recommend one vaccine over another but might say it’s preferable to use the same booster as the vaccine first given when possible, but vaccine providers will be able to use their discretion when giving shots, officials with knowledge of the plan told The New York Times.
Last month, the FDA authorized booster shots of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
The agency is expected to authorize boosters of the two-dose Moderna and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines by Wednesday, and it could also give the green light to mixing and matching booster doses at that point, according to the Times.
In a presentation last week that hinted at a mix-and-match strategy, federal health officials presented findings from a National Institutes of Health study looking at that possibility to an FDA advisory committee.
What the data shows
The study showed that people who initially received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine followed by a Moderna booster had a 76-fold increase in antibodies in 15 days, compared with a fourfold increase after a booster of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A Moderna booster also triggered higher antibody levels in Pfizer recipients than a third injection of the Pfizer vaccine, while a Pfizer booster