Mixing and Matching Booster Shots Now Approved for Eligible Citizens 


Alina Fairlie, Herald Writer

Mixing and matching vaccine booster shots is officially approved by the FDA and CDC for many Americans. Booster shots can now be received by select citizens 18+ who got any of the three Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. All of these vaccines will provide protection against Covid and the Delta variant, but it is not necessary for everyone. Furthermore, those who are severely immunocompromised will be eligible for a fourth shot, 6 months after their third, which is different from a booster. As of Wednesday, October 27, 1.5 million Americans have already received a booster shot of the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines. 


Both Pfizer and Moderna booster shots require recipients to be 18+ if you are high risk, or 65 and older. Those who have jobs or living situations that increase exposure to Covid are eligible as well. You have to wait at least 6 months from your second dose before receiving a booster shot, with the exception of those who received Johnson & Johnson. On the other hand, there are no restrictions if you are 18+ and received your single dose of Johnson & Johnson. If this category applies to you, getting a booster from another company is acceptable. If you are receiving a booster of Moderna, it will only be half the size of the original dose, at only 0.25mL compared to the previous 0.5mL. The FDA claims that this half dosing will be extremely effective in boosting immunity. Conversely, the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson booster shot will be the same size as your original dose. 


For those who received Johnson & Johnson, a booster will be available two months after your first dose, if you are 18 and older. Even though any booster dose is available to those who got any shot, it is highly recommended for those who received Johnson and Johnson since it is known to be less effective. Many doctors also recommend getting a booster of Moderna or Pfizer due to the fact that it was a single shot dose and offered weaker protection. The purpose of all Covid vaccines is to prevent severe illness, not offer complete immunity. Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of the CDC, says the shots “are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant.” Keep this in mind when deciding which vaccine is best for you. 


While allowing the public to freely choose the vaccine they want may lead to some confusion about which one to receive, it is highly recommended to receive whatever shot is available to you at the time, unless CDC recommendations say otherwise. Most chain drug stores such as Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS will only offer one or two options for the boosters, so make sure you research ahead of time. All booster shots will be free, regardless of your health insurance or immigration status. Common side effects for all vaccines may include headaches, fevers, and fatigue. 


Some argue that receiving different boosters will strengthen your immune system, while others are skeptical about long term effects. Researchers are looking for data to suggest that immunity from previous doses is dwindling, and many studies have found a decrease in antibodies, which is why the boosters are recommended for so many people. Getting a booster is meant to revitalize your immune system, reminding our bodies of the antibodies we need to be fighting.


It is extremely important to not let this new news distract us from encouraging unvaccinated citizens to receive their first dose. Many third world countries are lacking vaccines completely, and about 65 million Americans are still unvaccinated. While these new booster shots are great for added protection, we do have a bigger priority. Consider getting a booster shot if you are eligible, or your first dose if it is available to you.