Health officials: OK to mix and match COVID-19 boosters

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As more people become eligible for COVID-19 booster shots, health officials say it is okay to mix and match vaccines.

Since the initial rollout of the vaccines ten months ago, health officials report that vaccines start to lose some of their effectiveness over time. Fortunately, booster shots are effective in raising the body’s immunity to COVID-19.

Federal and state health officials recommend that people over 65 should get booster shots, as well as those living in a long-term care facility, and anyone between the ages of 18-65 with underlying medical conditions, or if their job puts them at a higher risk for exposure to the virus.

Booster shot eligibility depends on the brand of vaccine initially received. Those who received a Johnson & Johnson shot are ready for a boost two months after getting the first dose. For Those who received Pfizer or Moderna, health officials recommend a booster after six months.

Health officials say you can mix and match all three booster shots, and decline to make any specific vaccine recommendations, however in trials Moderna has an edge.

Julie Aalber, Assistant Director of Clackamas County Public Health explains booster efficacy, “we do see good prevention of hospitalization with all three vaccines. The Moderna slightly edged out the Pfizer for reducing hospitalizations, Johnson and Johnson ran behind, but it still showed good efficacy for avoiding hospitalizations. So if folks are worried about that they can certainly get the Moderna or Pfizer for a booster to their Johnson and Johnson.” Aalbers said.

As health officials say it is safe to mix and match vaccines, it is important to be aware that boosters are the same formulation as the original shots except Moderna’s booster is a half dose, which helps with Moderna’s supply.  

Booster shots can be scheduled at any pharmacy or with your doctor. Most counties in the area also still have vaccination clinics. Clinic locations can be found at koin.com.

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