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.
The Food and Drug Administration’s decisions mark a big step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign, which began with extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine last month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also consult an expert panel later this week before finalizing its own official recommendations for who should get boosters and when.
“The available data suggest waning immunity in some populations who are fully vaccinated,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease.”
She applauded the decision saying it was evidence the country was “proactively fighting against the pandemic,” adding that the vaccine continues to be the safest and most effective way to prevent COVID-19, as well as subsequent hospitalizations and death.
The latest moves would expand by tens of millions the number of Americans eligible for boosters and formally allow “mixing and matching” of shots — making it simpler to get another dose, especially for people who had a side effect from one brand but still want the proven protection of vaccination.