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Could Mix It Up

The US Food and Drug Administration is developing a plan that would allow people to receive a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine booster that differs from the initial vaccine they received, according to the New York Times.

This mix-and-match approach, it says, would give vaccine providers more flexibility, but could also reduce the demand for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Last week, a study posted to MedRxiv reported that boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and J&J all provided an increased immune response to SARS-CoV-2, but that people who initially received the J&J vaccine saw a higher response when given a mRNA-based booster. FDA has already authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech booster for people 65 or older and younger at-risk individuals and is currently weighing boosters for the Moderna and J&J vaccines, a decision on which the Times says is expected by late Wednesday.

Some officials tell the Times that having more booster options could make it easier to administer boosters, though others say that the various options and recommendations — boosters are expected to be authorized for all J&J vaccine recipients 18 years old and older, while the authorization for Moderna recipients is expected to be for those 65 years old or older or younger but at high-risk, like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — could lead to confusion.