The availability of COVID-19 boosters may soon expand dramatically

Original article from NPR



The U.S. is on the verge of drastically expanding the availability of COVID-19 vaccine boosters. The FDA and CDC are poised to sign off on Johnson & Johnson and Moderna boosters this week. One of those is a bit more complicated than the other. Joining us now with the latest is NPR health correspondent Rob Stein. Good morning, Rob.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott.

DETROW: So let’s start with the FDA. What can we expect this week?

STEIN: So any day now, the FDA is expected to authorize the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters following recommendations from the agency’s advisory committee last week. This comes after months of intense debate and lots of confusing zigzags. But this will mean that many of the 69 million people who got Moderna shots and all 15 million who got the J&J are about to become officially eligible for boosters. That’s on top of the millions who are already getting boosters of the Pfizer vaccine for several weeks now.

DETROW: You’re saying everyone who got a Johnson & Johnson shot would would be eligible, as well as many people with Moderna. Tell us more about eligibility and when people will be able to get these shots.

STEIN: So you know, the Moderna boosters are being recommended for the same folks who are getting Pfizer boosters. That’s anyone 65 and older and younger adults who are at a high risk because they have other health problems or risky jobs or living situations who got their second shots at least eight months ago. The J&J boosters would be for anyone age 18 or older who got their shot at least two months ago. Then on Thursday, CDC advisers will refine (ph) exactly how to use these boosters. One key question is whether people should get the same vaccine as a booster or get a different one. New research suggests that people who got a Pfizer or Moderna benefit about equally from getting either of those as a booster. But those who got the J&J look like they might do much better if they get one of the other vaccines instead. Here’s what Dr. Anthony Fauci said about this on Fox News yesterday.


ANTHONY FAUCI: I believe there’s going to be a degree of flexibility of what a person who got the J&J originally can do, either with J&J or with the mix and match from other products.