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Stick to same brand for COVID booster, local health experts say

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgians now have three options when it comes to booster shots. While Pfizer boosters have been out for about a month, Tuesday was the first day for the state to offer boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

So far, we’ve seen about 13.8 million people get booster shots across the country. As more sleeves roll up, our local experts recommend you stick to the same brand of booster as your original vaccine.

“If you had J&J the one-shot vaccine, after two months, you are eligible for a second dose. That second dose can be another dose of J&J, it can be a dose of Pfizer or it can be a dose of Moderna. You receive Pfizer or Moderna for the first and second, the recommendation is to continue with Pfizer or Moderna for your third vaccination,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche, a vaccination expert with Augusta University Health.

Doctors at AU Health say you need a booster if you’re 65 and older or if you have an underlying health issue.

“Anyone who has an immunocompromise state, whether that is because of disease state or because of medication that they take to surpassed their immune system,” he said. “Age is a predictor of increased immune response, and immune response is what keeps us the most safe from COVID-19.”

Research from the National Institutes of Health shows mixing and matching doses is effective and safe, but AU Health recommends you stick with your same brand, if possible.

“Whatever vaccine an individual has received for their prime series that are mRNA, so the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine, we recommend that you receive the same vaccine you received for your booster dose or your third dose for your first and second dose,” he said.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC is now recommending after two months of your first shot, you are eligible for a second dose which will build your immunity.

“The impact and effectiveness of the vaccine goes from somewhere in the high 60s to well over 90 percent, and that puts the J&J vaccine with a second dose in line with what we saw with two doses of Pfizer or two doses of Moderna, so its strongly recommended for those who have received J&J to receive a booster dose of any type,” said Wyche.

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