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US regulators signed on Wednesday to expand COVID-19 boosters to Americans who had received either Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines and said anyone eligible for additional doses would receive a brand different from what they initially received. Can do.

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The Food and Drug Administration’s decision marks a major step toward expanding the US booster campaign, which began last month with additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine. But before more people roll up their sleeves, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consult an expert panel later this week on who should get a booster before finalizing official recommendations.

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The latest moves will expand the number of Americans eligible for the booster to millions and formally allow for “mixing and matching” of shots – making it easier to get another dose, especially for those who need to switch from one brand to another. Had the effect but still want the proven safety of vaccination.

Specifically, the FDA authorized a third Moderna shot for seniors and others at high risk from COVID-19 because of their health problems, job or living conditions — six months after their last shot. One big change: Moderna’s booster will be half the dose used for the first two shots, which, based on company data, showed that was enough to boost immunity again.

For J&J’s single-shot vaccine, the FDA mandates that all US recipients should receive a second dose at least two months after their initial vaccination.

FDA regulations differ because vaccines are made differently with different dosing schedules — and the J&J vaccine consistently reported lower levels of effectiveness than either the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. is shown.