Johnson and Johnson COVID boosters on FDA panel agenda Friday

Earlier this week, a U.S. study suggested Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients got even greater protection when getting a booster shot from Moderna or Pfizer.

WASHINGTON — U.S. health advisers are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine booster and whether it’s safe to get a booster shot of a different brand than your initial vaccine.

The panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend Moderna’s booster shot for seniors, adults with other health problems, jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, a U.S. study found Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients were better off getting a booster shot from Moderna or Pfizer.  The preliminary study on “mixing and matching” from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases showed that while people who got the initial J&J vaccine benefited from a second dose, they had even higher immune responses with a different brand booster. 

The FDA advisers on Friday are set to discuss the study’s results and whether mixing and matching is safe and effective. 

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccine is the only one with the FDA’s thumbs up, for certain Americans. Moderna had asked the FDA for approval of a booster shot six months after the second dose, similar to Pfizer’s request.  

Johnson & Johnson requested approval for a booster as early as two months after the one-dose vaccine.

This week’s meetings are the first step in the approval process. Based off the advisory panel’s recommendations, the FDA will then decide whether to authorize the boosters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then have the final say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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