- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Food and Drug Administration is reportedly planning to allow Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a booster that is different from the one they initially received, a mix-and-match strategy that provides vaccinators flexibility.

The New York Times, which first reported the plan, said the decision could be made by late Wednesday when regulators are expected to authorize boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots generally.

The FDA is not expected to recommend one brand over another and may say it is preferable for people to get the same version when possible, the report said. Yet it is responding to calls for flexibility.

Talk of mixing comes after the FDA reviewed data that showed recipients of the J&J vaccine who received a Moderna booster saw their antibody levels rise 76-fold after 15 days, versus a fourfold increase after an extra dose of the J&J type.

Roughly 15 million Americans have been vaccinated with the one-shot J&J version.

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will discuss boosters generally on Thursday and issue recommendations on who should get them, meaning millions more Americans could be eligible by the end of the week.

The FDA previously approved Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for older adults, people at high risk of bad outcomes from COVID-19 and people in jobs at high risk of exposure. 

So far, about 10.6 million Americans have received an extra dose.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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