Virginia health officials closely monitoring COVID-19 booster developments and mixing and matching vaccines

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 2:40 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two more COVID-19 boosters could be available for 600,000 Virginians in the next two weeks.

“Still some steps to get through and probably a week or so before we have clarity on who exactly is eligible for those Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters. But the delivery mechanisms will be the same,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia Vaccine Coordinator.

Virginia’s vaccine coordinator also says Pfizer’s vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds should be available shortly after approval.

“I think the first week of November is a realistic time frame of when we would have an approved vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds,” said Dr. Avula.

The Virginia Health Department is now sharing data about booster and third doses on its vaccine dashboards. As of today, the state reported almost 254,000 boosters or third doses. That’s about a 29% uptake rate based on the 815,000 that are eligible right now.

In our area, Dr. Avula says most vaccine doses administered over at the newly re-opened Richmond raceway clinic are Pfizer booster shots.

“It’ll just give us a sense of, especially as we stand up a lot of these vaccination efforts, what that relative demand is looking like,” said Dr. Avula.

Avula says they’re also closely watching movement on mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines.

“We’ve been eagerly awaiting the results of that because I think everyone’s asked along the way if I initially had Moderna can I get Pfizer,” said Dr. Avula.

Avula says there’s promising data on mixing the J & J vaccine. He says of those with the one dose shot, who then get a Moderna or Pfizer booster, see a 10 to 20 fold increase in antibodies.

“The initial data looks like mixing and matching is safe and so if you had Moderna or Pfizer mixing to one of those other mRNA vaccines seems to produce as good or better immune effect without any difference in side affects,” said Dr. Avula.

Avula says they will continue to rely on pharmacies and providers to get booster shots in arms. We’re seeing large vaccine clinics in populous areas, like Richmond, to help out as well.

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