The FDA is expected to meet this week to make a decision about allowing Americans to mix and match their Covid-19 vaccine booster dose. If approved, people in the US could get a different brand booster shot from their original doses.
According to multiple reports, agency officials wouldn't necessarily recommend one brand over another, and might suggest sticking to the same brand as your original doses, but the move could provide doctors and vaccine providers the flexibility in distributing the vaccine and booster doses.
The mix and match approach announcement comes after a federally-funded study about mixing and matching vaccine brands showed people who originally got the Johnson & Johnson shot paired with a Moderna booster saw a 76-fold increase in antibody levels over the course of 15 days compared to a fourfold increase with a J&J booster in the same time frame.
News of booster doses comes weeks after the federal authorities approved emergency use of the Pfizer booster doses for particularly at-risk groups.
By the end of the week, federal regulators with the FDA and CDC could approve and provide guidelines for millions of Americans to be eligible for booster doses, The New York Times reported.
Public health experts have long called for additional flexibility in booster doses, citing supply needs, patient choice, and ease of administering the doses.
Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials told The Times that having a mix and match approach will benefit healthcare workers distributing booster doses to certain settings like at a "community site or long term care facility."
"It was a little inefficient to show up somewhere and say, 'We're just doing the people who got Pfizer,'" Plescia said.
In the last month, new cases and deaths have gone down, while community transmission remains high, the CDC Covid Data Tracker shows. In the US, 77.1% of eligible people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
To learn more about the Covid-19 vaccine, please click here.