The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to expand the use of booster doses for all approved COVID-19 vaccines, declaring emergency use authorizations (EUA) for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson single booster doses in “eligible populations.” The agency had previously approved boosters for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine boosters.
In addition to the booster approval, the FDA says people can also choose to mix and match the vaccine boosters. For example, if someone originally got the two-round Moderna vaccination, they can still opt to get the Johnson & Johnson booster.
Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the decision to amend the EUAs and add in the mix and match option was thoroughly vetted and will be tracked vigorously.
“We will work to accrue additional data as quickly as possible to further assess the benefits and risks of the use of booster doses in additional populations and plan to update the healthcare community and public with our determination in the coming weeks,” Marks said in a statement.
How the authorization works
Here is how the new authorizations will be handled for each of the three COVID-19 vaccine makers:
Moderna: A single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered at least 6 months after completion of the primary series to individuals:
65 years of age and older
18 to 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19
18 to 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2
The FDA has more information about the Moderna vaccine here.
Johnson & Johnson: The timeline for the Johnson & Johnson booster shot is a little shorter than Moderna’s booster. Effective immediately, the company said a single booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least two months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.
The FDA has set up a web page of FAQs about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine here.
Pfizer-BioNTech: A single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least 6 months after completion of the primary series to individuals 18 through 64 years of age with what the FDA calls “frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.” In other words, that means people whose jobs may put them in contact with lots of people.
For more information about the Pfizer vaccine, the FDA is directing people here.