This week’s “dose” of vaccine news! (10/16/21)


💥 The FDA Vaccines and Biologics Product *Advisory* Committee met on Thursday to discuss recommendations on a third dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and on Friday to discuss a second dose of Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

💥 The committee unanimously recommended a 3rd half dose of the Moderna vaccine for people over the age of 65, people 18-64 who are have risk factors for severe COVID-19, and people who work and live in high-risk situations (such as healthcare workers).

💥 The committee unanimously recommended a second dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 18 and more than 2 months from their first dose.

❓It remains unclear if the CDC will approve a “mix and match” strategy allowing people to receive a booster dose that is different from their first dose. Read our previous post (linked below) on the “mix and match” study released this week.

➡️ In the coming days, the FDA will make a final decision on these committee recommendations. Shortly after, the CDC will meet to discuss and review who will receive the additional doses.

Additional booster doses could be made available as early as next week.

What does this mean for me?

Many Americans who initially received the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines await eligibility for a booster dose. The Moderna recommendations from this week’s meeting mirror the population approved to receive an additional dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month. The recommendations apply to a broader group of people who were initially vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – anyone over 18 who had their first dose more than 2 months ago.

Next Steps

Sit tight. These additional doses need to go through two more steps before they are available in the community. First up is FDA approval of the committee recommendations. Next is CDC guidance on exactly who is eligible. This could happen in the next few days. While the FDA usually follows the guidance of the committee, it does not always. These guidelines affect millions of people. We will continue to provide the facts to support decision making.

Those Nerdy Girls

Additional Resources:

Dear Pandemic summary of the “mix and match” study results released this week.

Dear Pandemic explainer on the process of vaccine approvals (great read!)

NPR summary of Johnson and Johnson recommendation

STAT news summary of Moderna recommendation

Nice summary of vaccine data and US advisory rulings from the BBC

Link to Original FB Post