The FDA has authorized use of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Until Thursday, only the Pfizer-manufactured vaccine had approval to be used as a booster shot.
Additionally, the administration gave the greenlight for individuals to “mix and match” their COVID-19 booster vaccine with their previous dose(s). This means they have determined it is safe to receive a booster shot produced by a different company than the one who produced your initial dose(s).
“The panel of experts at the meeting with the FDA saw a really nice boost of antibodies of people who got J & J by getting one of mRNA vaccines which of course is Pfizer and Moderna,” said Rock Island County Health Department’s Chief Operating Officer Janet Hill.
Hill explained how this “mix and match” approach may aid in the overall push for vaccination in the community.
Local public health professionals hope the FDA’s latest announcement will increase accessibility to COVID-19 booster shots for individuals with busy schedules, who have limited openings in their week to receive their shot. Having the ability to attend a Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic opens a wider range of location and date opportunities than if an individual was required attend a booster clinic distributing the same vaccine brand they initially received.
“Whenever someone shows up to a clinic we’ll be able to give them a booster no matter what they had previously,” Hill said.
Local health officials confirm they are seeing more individuals receiving their booster shots than they are seeing new individuals receiving their first dose of the vaccine. So there remains a heavy effort to increase vaccination rates across the Quad Cities.
As flu season approaches, health officials encourage individuals to make arrangements to receive their flu vaccine as well in order to prevent a “twindemic” — a simultaneous outbreak in COVID-19 and flu cases.
“We have the tools to prevent a twindemic,” Hill said. We have highly effective vax for both flu and COVID-19, so there’s no reason why it should happen. But if people don’t become vaccinated for both, we could have a run on health-care resources.”
Health officials hope with increased vaccination rates of both the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine, the community can relieve pressure placed on hospitals and health-care workers.