FDA advisory panel endorses Moderna COVID-19 booster shots for some people

The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel is meeting to discuss whether it should recommend booster shots for the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

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Updated 3:14 pm EST, Oct. 14: The FDA advisory panel has endorsed the use of Moderna COVID-19 booster shots for those 65 and older, as well as members of groups who are considered high risk, The Associated Press reported.

The panel said the half-dose booster should be administered at least six months after the second dose was given, The New York Times reported.

Some of the panel used the approval of Pfizer’s booster a few weeks ago as precedent for making the decision for a Moderna booster.

Dr. Eric Rubin said the decision was made on, what he called, “a relatively small trial,” the Times reported.

Rubin is an adjunct professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He said Pfizer’s shot had real-world data from Israel where boosters were being used before the FDA gave its recommendation. Moderna, he said, does not. He said there may not be enough data to show if there are any adverse side effects from getting a booster, the Times reported.

The panel still has to vote on the J&J booster. That is expected to come Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will take a look at who specifically should get the booster from Moderna and J&J next week, the AP reported.

Original story: The discussion is expected to run both Thursday and Friday with a vote after, The New York Times reported.

The panel will not only debate whether to approve booster shots or not, but also decide whether to allow the mixing of different brands of vaccines should be allowed, ABC News reported.

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health, which has not been peer-reviewed, showed that getting a booster shot that is different than the original vaccine received appears to be both safe and effective.

Antibodies increased, no matter which brand participants received, the small study showed.

The study used Johnson & Johnson’s testing of its own vaccine and a second study that mixed brands, The Washington Post reported.

About 15 million people in the U.S. have received the single dose J&J vaccine but many Americans got either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines, the Post reported.

Despite the findings, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to require boosters to be the same brand as originally received if they decide to approve the J&J and Moderna boosters, ABC News reported.

So far, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for booster shot use.

If the FDA panel does approve the J&J and/or the Moderna booster vaccines, the CDC will still have to sign off on the recommendation and that won’t come before Oct. 22, ABC News reported.

This story will be updated as it develops.

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