DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Americans may soon be allowed to mix-and-match COVID vaccines by getting a booster shot from a different drug maker than the one they received for their initial doses.
The FDA authorized mix-and-match booster shots for people who originally got Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, and for older adults and vulnerable people who had Moderna’s vaccine.
The authorization would open up booster doses to more than 15 million people who received J&J’s shots and more than 69 million people who have been fully immunized with Moderna’s vaccine.
“We had Pfizer, so we got a Pfizer booster,” said Nancy Aucoin, who received a booster Thursday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. But the couple agreed that if approved by the CDC, they would consider mixing and matching. “We trust the science we would do it. If they say it’s okay, we’ll go,” Kurt Aucoin said.
Health officials said boosters should prevent breakthrough infections and are critical for protecting hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.
“If the science says so, I would be willing to follow the science. I’m a pharmacist so I firmly believe that the only way to get past the pandemic is to get the vaccine,” said Greg Fiely, who also got a booster on Thursday.
Public Health-Dayton Montgomery County said it is most concerned about boosting the state’s vaccination rate for first and second doses.
“We want to make sure we’re not losing sight of what’s really critical and that is individuals starting the vaccination process. So you want to get your first dose or one dose if it’s J&J and follow up with that second dose,” said Dan Suffoletto, Public Information Manager for PHDMC.
The mix-and-match strategy would benefit people like Kenneth Hemmelgarn. “I wanted to get a booster, but I didn’t realize they wouldn’t take the Moderna so I was unable to get my booster shot. I believe in science. I have no problem mixing the Moderna and Pfizer,” he said.
Mixing and matching could make it easier for people to get a booster. “Depending on which provider you’re going to on which day they may only have a certain vaccine available and if you’re on a certain schedule and you want to get that knowing that you could mix and match may make it more convenient for you,” Suffoletto said.
He said different vaccines can stimulate the immune system in different ways, so giving people mix-and-match booster shots could produce a better immune response than an extra dose of the same vaccine.