BUFFALO, N.Y. — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed the Food and Drug Administration's recommendation to approve booster shots for people who received either the double-dose Moderna or single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
On Thursday, a detailed discussion was held to discuss the topic as well as the FDA's recommendation to authorize the "mix and match" of booster shots, which infectious disease expert and Chief of Infectious Disease at the University at Buffalo, Dr. Thomas Russo says, is a smart decision.
"We would like to get booster shots into the arms of individuals to benefit them as soon as possible," Dr. Russo says. "By getting a booster shot, you'll decrease the likelihood that you'll get infected and protect others as well."
The CDC has also realigned criteria as far as booster eligibility for Pfizer and Moderna.
The CDC now recommends boosters for the following people who completed their first series of either double-dose vaccine:
- Seniors 65 and up;
- People ages 18+ who have underlying medical conditions;
- People ages 18+ who live in long-term care facilities; and
- People ages 18+ who in high-risk settings.
If eligible, you must wait at least six months after receiving your second dose (of either vaccine) before getting a booster shot.
"Immune response that was initially generated wanes over time, that booster shot then increases the level of protection to what it was after the initial vaccination and sometimes even to a greater degree," Dr. Russo says.
As for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC has different recommendations and criteria.
A booster shot is recommended for everyone ages 18 and up who received an initial J&J vaccine at least two months later.
"The J&J vaccine has been less effective than the Pfizer and Moderna RNA vaccines," Dr. Russo explains.
Hence, the CDC also gave the green light when it came to the FDA's recommendation to approve mixing and matching as far as boosters are concerned.
Dr. Russo tells 2 On Your Side, "The pragmatic reality of the mix and match approach is that if an individual shows up at a site to get vaccinated and they don't happen to have the Moderna vaccine, which they were initially vaccinated with, but just Pfizer, they could go ahead and get a Pfizer shot."
Another potential bones when it comes to this approach is giving people who received the J&J vaccine an opportunity to choose a different booster that might offer more protection.
"The J&J people definitely should get a booster," Dr. Russo says. "I think they're better off probably getting an RNA one than a J&J one, though they could go in either direction."
The CDC said on Thursday, regarding this topic, they would be offering a more detailed outline in an upcoming report.