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FDA OKs Moderna and J&J boosters, plus 'mix and match' approach

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, and also said it is fine to mix and match initial doses and boosters.

Under the emergency use authorization, a half dose of the Moderna vaccine can be given as a booster to people 65 and older who have been fully vaccinated for at least six months, as well as those 18 and older who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 or are frequently exposed to COVID-19 at their workplace. For the Johnson & Johnson booster, it may be administered to adults 18 and over, at least two months after they received their initial single dose of the vaccine.

"As the pandemic continues to impact the country, science has shown that vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective way to prevent COVID-19, including the most serious consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death," FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. "The available data suggest waning immunity in some populations who are fully vaccinated. The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease."

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will convene and determine whether to recommend the FDA authorization. Then, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will decide if she should sign off on their guidance.