FDA Approves COVID-19 Booster Shots From Moderna And J&J

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized COVID-19 booster shots from both Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

At the same time, the U.S. regulator officially authorized "mixing and matching" of COVID-19 vaccines, allowing Americans to get a booster shot from a different drugmaker than the one that made their initial doses.

The FDA approvals came after the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee last week unanimously recommended additional shots of vaccines from Moderna and J&J. The committee recommended the Moderna booster for elderly people and at-risk adults six months after they complete their primary series of shots. It also endorsed J&J boosters for everyone 18 and older who received the initial shot at least two months ago.

The ruling will now be handed off to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its vaccine advisory committee, which has scheduled a meeting today (October 21) to discuss Moderna’s and J&J’s booster data.

If the committee issues a recommendation, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off, additional shots for those vaccines could be distributed immediately to eligible people.

The authorization would open up booster doses to the more than 15 million people who have been inoculated with J&J’s shot and the more than 69 million people who have been fully immunized with Moderna’s vaccine.

Eligible Americans will also be able to "mix and match" vaccines. A highly anticipated National Institutes of Health study published last week showed all the combinations of boosters increased antibody levels, though Pfizer’s and Moderna’s boosters appeared to work best.

Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) boosters were authorized less than a month ago to a wide array of Americans, including the elderly, adults with underlying medical conditions, and those who work or live in high-risk settings, such as health-care and grocery workers.