Covid Booster Shot: FDA Gives Moderna And J&J “The Go”

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The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. approved Wednesday the use of booster shots by Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) on Americans at high risk of contracting COVID-19. Regulators also approved the “mix-and-match” dosing scheme.

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As reported by The Financial Times, the FDA has approved the use of booster shots by both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on people aged 65 and over, and younger adults “whose health or jobs put them at a higher risk of contracting Covid.”

With the decision, the U.S. now has three booster shot alternatives after the regulator had approved that of Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) a month ago.

“The regulator added that people will be allowed to receive any of the three authorized shots, regardless of which they received in their initial course,” the FT reports.

The move is expected to trigger similar approaches in other countries, which could considerably encourage the demand for Pfizer and Moderna’s messenger RNA vaccines in places where the one by AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN) has been predominantly used.

“The available data suggest waning immunity in some populations who are fully vaccinated. The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease,” said Janet Woodcock, the acting head of the FDA, said in a statement.

Mix-And-Match Approach

The FDA supported its decision to approve a “mix-and-match” booster scheme on a study presented to an expert advisory panel. In it, data showed how people who were given a blend of vaccine shots had more chances to increase the protection against the virus.

According to the FT, “This was particularly the case for people who initially received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot jab, a finding that experts believe will prompt many of them to choose mRNA vaccines for their booster doses.”

Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer said of the approval: “The ability to boost immune responses regardless of the primary vaccine regimen an individual has received provides more flexibility in protecting those already immunized, and is very beneficial to global public health as we look to curb this pandemic.”

Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, asserted that authorities were chasing an increasing availability of booster shots: “There is evidence that suggests potentially that lowering the age of those eligible for boosters may make sense in the future —that’s something we’re looking at closely.”