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Is it OK to mix Moderna, Pfizer in updated COVID booster shots?

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As residents prepare to roll up their sleeves for a third, fourth, or even fifth dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, some may be wondering: Do I need to stick with the same brand, or is it safe to mix it up?

When it comes to the new COVID-19 Omicron bivalent booster, the answer is, yes, you can mix and match.

You can get the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna version, regardless of which offer you previously received.

said Dr. Robert Kim Farley, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “If one is lacking, feel free to take the other.”

Mix and match

Suppose a person has received three doses of Moderna’s dose. Should they stay with Moderna or mix it with Pfizer Booster?

Infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco Dr. Peter Chen-Hung writes that the effect on the body’s immune system should be similar in both cases. tweet.

“It’s okay to mix and match Moderna and Pfizer,” Dr. Ralph Gonzalez, associate dean for clinical innovation and chief innovation officer at UCSF, said at the town hall on campus last week. “I just got my Moderna two days ago and it was a fun experience. I definitely had a stronger response with Moderna – having had a Pfizer before – but both combinations are good.”

The US Food and Drug Administration already allowed mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster doses starting last year, after allowing people to get their first booster dose. Despite having the choice, many people ended up staying loyal to the brand.

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But others have changed it, either as a matter of preference, availability, or recommendation. For example, many of those who received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine chose, for example, Pfizer or Moderna.

what is next

When some people — those 50 and older who are immunocompromised — became eligible for a second conventional booster dose earlier this year, some decided to use the other brand. Dr. Robert Wachter, MD, chief of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, decided in April to go with Moderna for the fourth shot after three straight runs from Pfizer.

“I saw that as negligence,” he said chirp in time.

The updated Omicron bivalent booster shot is available for those age 12 and older. Adults can choose from Pfizer or Moderna; Only teens between the ages of 12 and 17 are eligible for Pfizer.

Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said there is some expectation that the updated booster will be available for children ages 5 to 11 possibly as soon as October.

Officials are urging people to get the updated booster drug, which they expect will reduce the risk of infection. It’s called the bivalent shot because it’s designed to protect not only against the original coronavirus strain, but also against the newest Omicron sub-variants that have dominated the nation this summer, including BA.5.

“Bivalent boosters provide protection against the sub-variants that are currently being traded at the highest levels, and will be one of our best tools in planning for a safer, healthier and happier fall and winter holiday season,” Ferrer said on Thursday.

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