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FDA Approves Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Boosters

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The US Food and Drug Administration has granted authorization for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to distribute COVID-19 vaccine booster shots following a review of safety data from the manufacturers. Once the CDC gives its approval, these boosters could be available in pharmacies as early as next week.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner of the FDA, emphasized the importance of vaccination as a crucial measure to combat COVID-19. She stated, “Vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to prevent severe outcomes of the disease, such as hospitalization and death, as the pandemic persists.”

Highlighting the diminishing immunity observed in some fully vaccinated populations, Dr. Janet Woodcock stressed the significance of authorized booster shots for ongoing protection against COVID-19.

Additionally, the FDA affirmed the safety of mixing different initial vaccines and boosters, enabling individuals to receive a booster different from their original vaccine. This flexibility aims to facilitate booster administration, especially in areas where specific vaccines may not be readily available.

Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, likened the interchangeability of vaccines to the approach taken with flu vaccines, aiming to streamline the booster process for individuals.

Currently, the booster shots are recommended for older adults and immunocompromised individuals. However, as more data becomes available, the FDA and CDC plan to assess expanding the eligible age range and simplifying the booster administration process.

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