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Fauci says 'mix and match' strategy for COVID-19 vaccine boosters still on the table

Michael Wilner, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — The federal government may determine in the coming weeks that Americans can “mix and match” their initial COVID-19 vaccine with booster shots from a different manufacturer, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday.

Ongoing studies suggest it may be safe and even preferable to boost one manufacturer’s product with a jab from another vaccine maker, said Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

“We are in the process of doing those studies right now,” Fauci said in an interview with McClatchy. “We already have the data that was recently published actually of using Moderna as the boost for any of the other three vaccines – Moderna against Moderna, Moderna against Pfizer, and Moderna against J&J.”

“Within the next few weeks, we’ll get data on the J&J boosting and on the Pfizer boosting,” Fauci said. “We have not abandoned that concept, because we realize there will be situations for one reason or another where a person may not have the availability to be boosted with the same product that they were originally vaccinated with.”

The Centers for Disease Control currently recommends that people eligible for boosters use the same vaccine they received for their initial doses.

“For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used,” the CDC says on its website, referring to the design of the vaccine. “A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses.”

 

But Fauci said there is a possibility that studies will show that one of the three available vaccines works best as a booster for all of them.

The Biden administration is prepared for such a scenario and has enough supply in case one vaccine booster is in particular demand, he said. “We definitely have enough supply, without a doubt.”

DELTA VARIANT STILL HAS ‘VULNERABLE TARGETS’

For vaccinated people, Fauci anticipates that more will become eligible for booster shots as data becomes available. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters will likely become available “in the fall and winter,” he said.

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