FDA panel to discuss J&J COVID-19 booster, mixing vaccines

Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Posted at 5:48 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 06:02:59-04

An FDA advisory panel is meeting once again on Friday, this time to decide whether or not to add Johnson & Johnson to the list of approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

On Thursday, the panel gave Moderna's booster vaccine approval, but at this time, only seniors and high-risk Americans are eligible for it. The next step for Moderna is emergency use authorization.

If the meeting on Friday goes well for J&J, we could have three boosters on the market by the end of the month, and if you're eligible, experts might recommend you mix it up and get a Pfizer booster instead of a second round of Johnson & Johnson.

The FDA voted unanimously to recommend the third shot of Moderna, but the criteria on who can get it is narrow.

You're only eligible if you're over 65, or if you're 18 and older but considered high risk because you have an underlying health condition or you work in. place with a high potential for exposure.

On Friday, the panel will also look at the benefits of mixing vaccines.

Dr. Partha Nandi said it's going to be a difficult day of deliberation considering vaccine protection still remains relatively high for most people with two doses.

"If we look at the numbers 103 million Americans are vaccinated with Pfizer's vaccine, 69 million with Moderna and 15 million with J&J, and so far breakthrough cases are still uncommon." he said.

While boosters are crucial for higher-risk Americans, experts say we can't forget about the 66 million people who still haven't gotten vaccinated at all.

"The people who are in the ICU aren't there because they haven't gotten the third dose, they're there because they haven't gotten any dose," Paul Offit said.

Protecting our younger populations is next on the horizon. President JOe Biden said he already has a rollout plan for the vaccine if the FDA grants it emergency use authorization.

"If authorized, we are ready. We have purchased enough vaccines for all children between the ages of 5 and 11 in the United States," Biden said.