Boosters: What to Know About the Expanded Authorization for COVID Vaccines

FDA and CDC Announce Expanded Eligibility and Authorize ‘Mix and Match’ Doses

Shirley Stockero, 92, receives her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Cottage Hospital in Goleta. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Both state and county Public Health officials are urging those eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster following the Food & Drug Administration’s authorization of boosters for all three major vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s expansion of eligibility last week.

“Vaccines are how we end this pandemic, and following this week’s announcements by our federal partners, boosters will play a critical role moving forward,” California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón said.

The FDA expanded the emergency-use authorizations for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson last week to allow for the use of a single booster dose after having done the same for the Pfizer vaccine last month, and the CDC expanded eligibility for the booster to include those ages 65 years and older, and those who are 18 or older and live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions, or work or live in high-risk settings.

The FDA also approved “heterologous” boosters, also known as “mix-and-match” boosters, following a presentation of clinical trial data from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that determined the “known and potential benefits of the use of a single heterologous booster dose outweigh the known and potential risks of their use in eligible populations.”


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“These decisions, as well as the authorization to allow for mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for boosters, will allow more Californians to increase and maintain the strongest protection against infection heading into the winter months,” Aragón said. “All eligible Californians will benefit from this added protection and should make receiving their booster vaccine a priority.”

According to the Santa Barbara County Community Data Dashboard, 78.4 percent of those eligible are vaccinated, and 70.7 percent are fully vaccinated.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department released a guide with updated booster information, including a full outline of eligibility requirements. According to the guide, “people 65 years or older and people 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions,” should receive a booster, and people 18-49 years who are in at-risk groups may receive a booster.

Those eligible can find a booster vaccine through MyTurn.ca.gov.


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