Covid vaccine mixing and pairing reviewed by FDA panel


Several panelists said Friday they felt comfortable with the amount of data NIH researchers had gathered to recommend FDA clearance for the vaccine mix. Dr Ofer Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital at Harvard, said many Americans have already taken the matter into their own hands and urged the FDA to intervene.

“In the real world, all of these types of combinations or additional boosters are already happening, so I think there is an urgent need for the FDA to help unravel what is admittedly a complicated and difficult scenario,” he said. . “We can’t hide from it. And I think we need to give advice to the public.

What to know about Covid-19 booster injections

The FDA has cleared booster shots for a select group of people who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months previously. This group includes: vaccinated people who are 65 years of age or older or living in long-term care facilities; adults who are at high risk for severe Covid-19 due to an underlying medical problem; healthcare workers and others whose work puts them at risk. People with weakened immune systems are eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna four weeks after the second injection.

The CDC said the conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: hypertension and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorders; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.

The FDA has cleared the boosters for workers whose work puts them at high risk of exposure to potentially infectious people. The CDC says this group includes: emergency medical workers; education workers; food and agricultural workers; manufacturing workers; correctional workers; workers in the US postal service; public transport workers; employees of grocery stores.

It is not recommended. For now, recipients of the Pfizer vaccine are advised to be vaccinated by Pfizer, and recipients of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson must wait until booster doses from these manufacturers are approved.

Yes. The CDC says the Covid vaccine can be given regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy websites allow people to schedule a flu shot along with a booster dose.

Dr Amanda Cohn, an official at the CDC, said the FDA could perhaps include general language in its authorizations for vaccines that would allow combinations.

“From a public health perspective, there is a clear need in certain situations for individuals to receive a different vaccine,” she said.

The NIH trial only looked at antibody levels, which alone is not a sufficient measure of how well different combinations would protect people. Dr Lyke said studies on immune cell responses are ongoing.

Referring to the limited data on mixing and pairing, Dr Johan Van Hoof, an executive at Johnson & Johnson, said a booster was preferable. “These findings are important,” he said of the study, “but only one piece of the puzzle, and they don’t give the full picture.”

Despite this, some experts said the evidence still points to a change in vaccination platform.

“Ultimately, people with Johnson & Johnson should probably get an mRNA booster,” said Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s just a matter of how much data does the FDA need before making this recommendation?

“I wouldn’t want to be in their place,” he added.

Todd Gregory contributed reporting.

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