Dr. Fauci Just Gave an Update on Getting a Booster of a Different Vaccine
The COVID adviser says that a major study on mixing and matching shots been completed.
Millions of Pfizer recipients have already received an additional COVID vaccine dose, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted in late September to authorize Pfizer booster shots for certain groups of people at least six months out from their last dose. The agencies cited data in their decision that showed that the effectiveness of Pfizer's vaccine in protecting particularly vulnerable groups from COVID had waned enough over the last few months to warrant an addition shot. Meanwhile, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients have been cautioned not to seek out a booster until authorized to do so, as they'd currently be forced to mix and match vaccines with a Pfizer dose. But guidance on getting a different shot from your original vaccine may soon change.
During an Oct. 6 interview on Bloomberg's Balance of Power, top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, said that a nine-part study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on mixing and matching COVID boosters has already been completed.
"What the study does, it gets individuals who've been given the classic dose, which is two doses for the mRNA and one dose for J&J," Fauci explained. "And then what you do is you use as the booster—either Moderna against each of those three, J&J against each of those three, and then Pfizer against each of those three to determine just what we've mentioned before: the safety, the immunogenicity, and the ultimate efficacy of those kinds of mixes and matches to answer the question, 'If I get a Moderna, can I be boosted with a Pfizer?' or 'If I get a J&J, can I be boosted with a Moderna?'"
According to Fauci, the study has been completed and the data has already been presented in a package to the FDA, who is reviewing it. "The data are being examined by the FDA … They will examine the safety, the immunogenicity—which means its ability to induce a particular immune response—and whether or not they will give an approval that you can use this product with that product, etc.," he said.
The FDA is set to discuss Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters, as well as mixing and matching boosters, on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15. "The committee will hear presentations and discuss the available data on the use of a booster of a different vaccine than the one used for the primary series of an authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine," the agency said in a statement.
Until then, notable health experts, including Fauci, have warned Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients to not seek out booster shots before eligible. "We recommend that people wait until you get to the point where you fall into the category where it's recommended," Fauci said while on CNN's State of the Union on Sept. 19.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, also recently told Yahoo! Finance that while "we're starting to see some of the mix-and-match data" for booster doses, the practice has not yet been approved or recommended in the U.S., despite other countries implementing it already.
"The FDA and the CDC advisory committees have reviewed the data—the efficacy data, the safety data, the waning data—for Pfizer and only Pfizer so far," Walensky said during a Sept. 24 White House press briefing. "The advice and recommendations we have given is for Pfizer boosts with people who received a Pfizer primary series."