CDC signs off on Moderna, J&J boosters, mixing and matching doses

With final CDC approval, the boosters could be available by week's end.

October 21, 2021, 8:46 PM

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky gave the final signoff on Thursday evening to recommend both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters for certain populations, giving the green light for booster shots to start going into the arms of these newly eligible Americans. The decision of which brand will be up to the individual.

"These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19. 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. 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," she said in a statement.

The CDC's independent panel voted unanimously to support that decision earlier in the day.

The panel recommended a third dose for Moderna vaccine recipients at least six months after a person's initial course for those 65 and older, and those as young as 18 who are at higher risk due to their underlying health conditions, or where they work or live.

A medical staff member prepares a syringe with a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccine clinic at the Jewish Community Center in the Staten Island, N.Y., April 16, 2021.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

This aligns with what was recommended for a third booster dose for recipients of the Pfizer vaccine.

A second dose for those that received a one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recommended for anyone 18 years and older, at least two months after their first dose.

The panel also cleared the way for allowing mixing and matching of booster doses, meaning they will allow for people to get a different brand as a booster than was used for a primary vaccination.

A nurse shows a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
Universal Images via Getty Images, FILE

Echoing the FDA however, CDC advisors today did not say any booster combination was preferred over another.

CDC's advisory vote follows -- and falls in line with -- FDA's move Wednesday to authorize those boosters, and aligns with what FDA and CDC authorized for the Pfizer vaccine booster shots last month.

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