HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The FDA has given the green light for some high-risk people to get booster shots of the Moderna vaccine.
Johnson and Johnson will ask for the same thing.
This is the first step for the two drug makers in getting the same approval Pfizer got last month.
“Today we’re seeking your endorsement for a 50 microgram booster dose for the individuals I just described,” said Jacqueline Miller, therapeutic area head for Infectious Diseases for Moderna.
Moderna made its case on Thursday to an FDA panel to give boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine to some high-risk people.
With the panel’s endorsement, Moderna moved one step closer to getting the same authorization Pfizer got last month.
Johnson and Johnson will ask for the same thing Friday.
“I think a lot of this all needs to be sorted out at this time,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, system director of infectious diseases at Hartford HealthCare.
Even doctors are asking that question.
Moderna and Johnson and Johnson say studies found booster shots help three groups of people: people over 65, those with certain pre-existing conditions, and workers in high risk jobs.
Those are the same groups who can get a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
So why might the f-d-a treat another company differently?
“It all really depends on timing, and it looks like not all are going to be equal, not all are going to be at the same time,” Wu said.
Data shows Moderna’s vaccine has strong lasting immunity. They’re looking to give a booster six months after someone’s last shot. But regulators could say it’s not needed. At least not now. Moderna told the FDA a third dose that’s only half the size would still be effective.
“Reducing the booster dose to 50 micrograms would also increase the worldwide vaccine supply,” Miller said.
The FDA could also weigh in on whether it’s safe to mix vaccines.
A National Institute of Health study suggest Johnson and Johnson recipients would be better off with a booster of Moderna or Pfizer.
Doctors are seeing people try to get different brands already. But is that safe?
“I think it will actually probably be safe, but I would wait for the data, I would wait for someone to give the go ahead,” Wu said.
A vote on Johnson and Johnson’s request could come on Friday.
Both companies also need approval from the Centers for Disease Control as well.