Booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine have been recommended for some groups of people. Until now, the FDA has only authorized a booster dose for people who received the Pfizer vaccine and meet certain eligibility requirements. When will the Moderna booster be available and who's eligible? Will people be able to mix and match COVID-19 vaccines?
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing battle for most countries. COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for older people and people with weakened immune systems. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, aged 84, died of COVID-19-related complications despite being fully vaccinated. He had a weaker immune system due to cancer. Studies have found that vaccine protection against the disease weakens after some months. That raises the need for a booster shot to extend the protection.
For people getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, two doses are needed to become fully vaccinated. A third dose becomes a booster. For people receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single dose offers full vaccination and a second dose is a booster.
When will the Moderna booster be available?
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is expected to authorize booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines by Oct. 20. An FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Oct. 14. The FDA usually follows the recommendations of its advisory panels. Meanwhile, CDC (Centers for Disease and Control) advisers will meet on Oct. 21 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
Who is eligible for Moderna vaccine booster?
About 70 million Americans received the Moderna vaccine. The FDA advisory panel recommended the Moderna vaccine booster dose for seniors who are at least 65 years old. It also backed a booster shot for adults at high risk due to health conditions, living conditions, or at-risk working environments. The Pfizer booster shot also targets a similar group of people. However, the government might soon recommend vaccine boosters for all adults who are at least 40 years old.
The panel recommended half a dose for the Moderna booster compared to a full dose for the Pfizer booster. Moderna’s booster or third dose would be given to people who received the second Moderna shot at least six months ago. The same timeline applies to the Pfizer booster.
Can I get the Moderna booster if I received the Pfizer vaccine?
The FDA is considering allowing people to mix and match the COVID-19 vaccine boosters. For example, people who received the Pfizer vaccine could get a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster. Similarly, those who received the Moderna vaccine would be eligible to get the Pfizer booster. A study found that the Moderna booster offered more protection for people who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine compared to the Johnson & Johnson booster.