CDC Officially Recommends Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Booster Vaccines

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky recommended the expansion of booster shot availability to tens of millions of Americans late Thursday evening.

The CDC endorsed a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for Americans who are 65 or older and for those aged 18 or over living in long-term care facilities, with underlying medical conditions or working in high-risk occupations. The recommendations cover recipients of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. Previously, a booster recommendation was only in place for recipients of Pfizer’s vaccine.

For Moderna recipients, the recommendation is for a booster at six months or more after initial vaccination. For Johnson & Johnson recipients, the recommendation begins at two months post-shot. (RELATED: Even Without Vaccines, Kids Are Still Safer From COVID-19 Than Their Vaccinated Grandparents)

Boosters are now recommended for all three vaccines available in the United States against COVID-19, and Walensky said Americans may choose to mix-and-match a different booster vaccine than the one they initially received. Some research has suggested that getting a different booster vaccine, such as a Moderna booster after being initially vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson, may grant a stronger immune response.

“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” Walensky said Thursday night. “The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant.”

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s booster doses were granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week.