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U.S. health regulators poised to make call on COVID-19 booster doses

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U.S. regulators expect to rule Wednesday on authorizing booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, a Food and Drug Administration official said at a government meeting.

The U.S. FDA’s Doran Fink previewed “some announcements later today,” which were expected to include allowing the mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster doses among the three U.S. manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna and J&J.

Fink appeared at a meeting of vaccine experts convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who are expected to take up the FDA decisions and make their own recommendations on Thursday.

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Several million Americans already have gotten a third shot to boost Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Last week, the FDA’s panel of independent experts unanimously recommended broadening the booster campaign to include recipients of the two-dose Moderna vaccine and J&J’s one-shot vaccine. Most experts also agreed that using a different booster brand appeared safe and effective for revving up protection. The FDA is not required to follow the group’s advice, though it generally does.

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“FDA has been very busy since last Friday wrapping up our review and working toward authorization” of the vaccine applications, said Fink, a deputy director in the FDA’s vaccine division.

The booster recommendations won’t become official until after the CDC’s director affirms who should get them and when.

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