FDA grants emergency use authorization for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine booster shots

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FILE- In this Dec. 10, 2020, file photo, a sign is displayed for the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Md. After nearly nine months of searching, President Joe Biden says he’s close to naming his choice to lead the FDA, which oversees vaccines, drugs and tests. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

The FDA on Wednesday granted emergency use authorization to booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, clearing a key regulatory hurdle for millions of Americans looking to boost their protection against COVID-19.

Adults can now also “mix and match” their booster shots, the FDA said, and do not have to get an additional dose from the same brand that first vaccinated them.

Like with Pfizer’s vaccine, the FDA is authorizing a third Moderna shot for many adults vaccinated at least six months ago.

Those eligible for the booster shot include all seniors 65 and older, adults who are at “high risk of severe COVID-19” and adults with frequent exposure to the virus because of where they live or work.

Regulators are also allowing all 15 million adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to receive a second dose at least two months after they were first vaccinated, regardless of their personal risk.

Ahead of the decision, the FDA’s scientists had said that the highest estimates of vaccine effectiveness from the single-shot vaccine were “consistently less” than from Pfizer or Moderna. 

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