The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will decide in late October whether to recommend people be able to “mix and match” initial doses of a Covid-19 vaccine with booster shots from a different manufacturer, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in an interview with McClatchy.
Walensky said the National Institutes of Health has been studying the safety and effectiveness of combining different pairings of all the vaccines, and it is looking at if it would be safe or even preferable to allow people to mix and match their initial Covid-19 vaccine with a booster from a different manufacturer.
Currently the CDC recommends that people receive a booster shot from the same manufacturer as their initial Covid-19 vaccine.
Pfizer-BioNTech is the only manufacturer that has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to distribute booster shots to people over the age of 65, high-risk workers and those who are immunocompromised, six months after receiving initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told McClatchy last week that the ability to mix and match vaccines and booster shot manufacturers could allow more people to access the boosters. Fauci said there could be “situations” where a person “may not have the availability to be boosted with the same product that they were originally vaccinated with.” The U.S. has been studying mixing and matching different doses of the Covid-19 vaccine since June. Other countries have also released studies on this, and have found that some combinations of Covid-19 vaccinations from different manufacturers actually led to a greater immune response. An Oxford University study in June found that taking an AstraZeneca vaccine shot followed by a Pfizer shot created the highest T-cell response, or immune cells that attack and destroy infected cells. Another study conducted by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency found that taking an AstraZeneca vaccine shot followed by a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shot boosted Covid-19 antibody levels six times more than receiving two Astra-Zeneca doses.
Countries in Europe like France and Germany may allow people to mix and match their initial Covid-19 vaccine doses with a booster shot from another manufacturer, according to Politico. In Germany, those who are elderly or immunocompromised that have received AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be set to receive a Pfizer mRNA vaccine booster shot. In France a Pfizer booster shot could be offered regardless of the manufacturer of the initial vaccine given.