Western States Scientists OK ‘Mix-and-Match’ Booster Shots

A panel of scientists in Oregon and other western states on Friday recommended Covid-19 booster shots for those who received complete series of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots — while also approving the “mix-and-match” strategy endorsed by the FDA and CDC.

According to the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, recipients of the Moderna vaccine may receive a booster shot six months after completing their primary vaccination series, and recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may receive a booster shot two months after receiving their first dose.

The group of scientists and medical experts — which the governments of Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada have tasked with independently reviewing coronavirus response strategies — also recommended that individuals may receive either the same or a different vaccine, depending on advice from a health care provider, individual preference availability or convenience.

“I am grateful to be one of the millions of Americans protected by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from Covid-19, severe illness and hospitalization,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a statement. “Whether you received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, everyone eligible who wants a booster will be able to get one and the extra layer of protection a booster dose provides.

“I’m committed to ensuring our most vulnerable Oregonians are protected from Covid-19, including those who are at higher risk due to systemic health and social inequities. Vaccination is our pathway out of this pandemic.”

Those who still have questions about getting vaccinated should call their doctor or health care provider today to get their questions answered, Brown added.

Booster shots are recommended for those who are 65 or older, long-term care residents or 50 or older with underlying medical conditions. The workgroup also recommended that all individuals 18 years of age or older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first shot.

Because unvaccinated individuals remain at much higher risk of Covid-19 than vaccinated individuals, the workgroup also reiterated that its members strongly support vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older.

On Wednesday, the FDA authorized booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices affirmed that decision on Thursday. The workgroup reviewed and affirmed the federal decisions in meetings Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s Covid-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The workgroup, made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to Covid-19 vaccines.

It will continue to evaluate other Covid-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.

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