ABC News: The FDA may soon allow vaccine mixing as booster shots

Oct 19, 2021, 1:23 AM | Updated: 1:24 am
vaccine mixing...
FILE: Adams 12 Five Star Schools District RN Tiffany Karschamroon draws a dose from a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021 in Thornton, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — An ABC source reports that the FDA is considering a plan that would allow vaccine mixing, or, for Americans to receive a COVID-19 booster shot of a different brand than the shots they received originally.

According to CNET, the topic was broached last week after an FDA advisory panel voted to approve a booster shot for everyone who opted for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (not just senior citizens and others at a higher risk of severe consequences related to COVID-19).

ABC News reported Monday night that a source “familiar with the agency’s (FDA’s) planning” had confirmed that the FDA was considering this option.

The New York Times was the first news agency to report this possible move by the FDA.v

Effectiveness of vaccine mixing outlined in preliminary results of study

The question of whether to allow or recommend “mixing” COVID-19 vaccines in the form of a booster shot has received attention after an as-of-yet non-peer-reviewed study was pre-printed on October 13, 2021.

This preliminary report explained that researchers tested the effects of homologous (similar) COVID-19 booster shots and heterologous (different) booster shots and found:

A so-called “mix and match” COVID vaccine series using a different booster than the primary series was safe and produced an increase in immune response comparable to or greater than when the primary series and booster were the same vaccine,” according to reporting from MedPage Today.

CNET reported that mixing COVID-19 vaccines is being done in countries outside the United States, but that before a US agency could recommend the practice there would need to be a review of the potential risks.

The concern about vaccine mixing and COVID-19

Of particular concern are the different natures of the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna versions are mRNA vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this type of vaccine teaches our cells how to make a protein (or part of a protein) that triggers an immune response within our bodies.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, or, a more traditional type of vaccine that contains a modified version of a different virus which then transmits instructions to human cells.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States




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ABC News: The FDA may soon allow vaccine mixing as booster shots