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Richmond health leader says study results on mixing and matching vaccine boosters are promising

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 11:23 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With millions of Americans fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, thousands more preparing for booster shots. For those getting booster shots, there could be another treatment option available in the near future.

A new study from the National Institute of Health (NIH) shows that getting a booster dose different from the initial vaccine treatment is not only safe and effective but also boosted immune response.

“If mixing and matching boosters are authorized, we’ll be excited to lay those out as well in Virginia, once they’re evaluated and authorized by the FDA and CDC; we will absolutely be adopting those there,” said Richmond Henrico Health District deputy director Dr. Melissa Viray. “It all depends on what they find.”

More than 450 people were part of the study and were given one of three booster shots four to six months after their initial vaccination.

Researchers found that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with Pfizer or Moderna boosters produced stronger antibody levels compared to another J&J shot

Those who initially received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and received either company’s booster also produced strong immune responses.

The study has yet to be peer-reviewed, but Viray believes more options are a good thing.

“I’m hoping that also the mix and match will also allow folks who have had their primary series to have more options,” Viray said.

Viray says despite the potential of the study’s finding that the booster shots won’t fix everything, and there should be continued focus to get more people vaccinated with their initial doses first.

“I will say, Danny Avula will say, experts will say that nationwide, we’re not going to boost our way out of the pandemic,” Viray said. “At the end of the day, the folks who are most vulnerable to going to the hospital and dying right now aren’t the folks who got vaccinated six months ago. They are the folks who’ve never been vaccinated.”

The research will be presented Friday to the FDA’s advisory committee as it reviews data about Moderna and J&J booster shots. The study’s findings can be read, HERE.

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