Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said American drug regulator will consider whether those who have been inoculated with one dose of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine should be administered an mRNA-based vaccine, like Moderna or Pfizer as a booster shot to help induce a higher number of antibodies.
“If you boost people who have originally received J&J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J&J,” Fauci told reporters during a television interview.
Fauci’s comment comes after a second dose of the J&J vaccine was recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 18 years and above as a booster shot. FDA also recommended a third dose of the Modern vaccine as a booster shot to high-risk adults.
Both Pfizer-BioNTech SE and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA technology while the J&J shot uses adenovirus like India’s Covishield. Experts opine that mix-and-match of vaccines if sanctioned will give individuals greater flexibility in deciding which booster shot they should opt for to help battle waning immunity against the virus.
The infectious disease expert had said towards the end of September that efficacy data on the pairing of vaccines will be available in the first two weeks of October, months after the National Institutes of Health started a mix-and-match trial of Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J shots on roughly 150 adults on June 1. All the participants were given a booster shot of a different vaccine three to four months after completing their first vaccine regimen.
Fauci also said individuals will have the freedom to choose which booster shot they would like to go for. “I believe there’s going to be a degree of flexibility of what a person who got the J&J originally can do, either with J&J or with the mix-and-match from other products,” he said.