An FDA advisory group will also consider mixing and matching the vaccines.
On Thursday and Friday, an independent FDA advisory group is expected to discuss and vote on whether or not to approve Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine recalls for those 18 and over.
External experts will also review new data from the National Institutes of Health on the potential benefits of mixing and pairing vaccines for booster shots.
Early results from the much-anticipated NIH study reveal that boosting with a different stroke than what people received the first time around appears to be safe and effective.
The non-peer reviewed study evaluated all three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and J&J – and concluded that regardless of the booster, all study participants saw a “substantial” increase in antibody levels after a reminder.
While promising, more research is likely needed on blending and pairing. For now, the FDA and CDC are expected to rule on whether to allow additional booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for those who received the same original vaccine.
This week’s meetings are the first step in a long process: the FDA itself and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are both expected to endorse the panel’s recommendations on who should receive recalls and when – and as soon as possible. is the following Friday, October 22.
On Thursday, the panel will discuss and vote on a potential Moderna booster, and hear presentations from the company and FDA officials; Israel’s director of public health will give a presentation on the results of Pfizer’s booster injections in that country.
The FDA panel will ask questions and debate the benefits versus risks of a Moderna booster and a first non-binding vote on the Moderna booster is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, the panel will discuss and vote on a Johnson & Johnson booster, in addition to hearing the NIH presentation on mix and match booster data.
Johnson & Johnson released a summary of their research on Wednesday, arguing for a second injection, the same dose, about six months after the single-shot vaccine.
A first non-binding vote on the Johnson & Johnson booster is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Once the FDA advisory committee has voted on the recommendations for each recall, the FDA itself must formally amend the current emergency authorization. Career scientists at the FDA are expected to clear the boosters for Johnson & Johnson and Moderna within days of the independent panel’s non-binding vote.
Then the question goes to the CDC’s independent expert advisory group. This panel has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday October 20 and Thursday October 21 to discuss boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. These external experts will provide their recommendations, which are also non-binding.
Once that happens, CDC director Rochelle Walensky must sign, which typically happens within 24 hours of the panel’s recommendations.