Now those people over 50 years old or those who are immunocompromised Eligible for a second COVID booster dose, you may be wondering if you should switch the type of vaccine you get for your fourth dose.
Evidence suggests that doing so for the third dose produces a stronger and more robust immune response, likely because vaccines stimulate our immune system in different ways. Although there isn’t a lot of data on the fourth dose, infectious disease experts believe mixing a second booster drug would be similarly beneficial.
Although there may be a slight advantage to mixing vaccines, you’ll still be well protected from severe outcomes if you decide to stick with the same type of vaccine for a second booster, according to infectious disease experts.
The only caveat is that anyone who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially will want to follow up with an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna as evidence consistently shows that they offer stronger protection. But mRNAs reinforce each other well and can be safely exchanged.
“When it comes to the most significant numbers, which prevent hospitalization, severe illness and death, there is literally no difference,” Onima Ogbwagoan infectious disease specialist at Yale University, told HuffPost.
What to know about mixing and matching booster shots
Data is limited on how specifically mixing vaccines for your fourth dose affects protection, but previous research shows that a mix-and-match strategy with the first three doses provided a broader immune response.
a A study from the National Institutes of Health He found that boosting with a different type of shot than given previously was associated with higher antibody levels than subjects who boosted the same type of shot.
“If you switch, you actually had more of an immune response than if you just continued the same vaccine,” he said. Robert Murphyan infectious disease physician in Northwestern Medicine.
This is likely because the body responds to vaccines differently, which ultimately helps produce a broader immune response.
“I think there is evidence that mixing and matching mRNA vaccines may have some benefits because they slightly stimulate the immune system in different ways,” Omeish Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. Adalja believes this same biological principle applies to the fourth dose as well.
The benefits of switching doses are more pronounced in people who originally received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Having the mRNA boost on top of the primary J&J results in higher antibody levels and higher clinical protection from the top of the J&J,” Ogbuagu said. For those who initially got a J&J shot, it’s recommended to boost it up with either a Pfizer or Moderna shot.
According to Ogbuagu, the mRNA shots are comparable. “The mRNAs reinforce each other quite well, but our Moderna probably has a bit of an advantage,” he said.
This is likely because Moderna has a higher antigen dose and a longer dose interval compared to Pfizer. a study A recent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines found that people who received the Moderna vaccine had more antibodies inside the mucus lining in the nose, which helps prevent infection.
At this point, though, experts say it’s a good idea to choose the other type of mRNA dose or stick with what you have on hand. Both do a great job of stimulating strong immune responses against variants.
“There is no official recommendation,” Murphy said. “People can continue with the one they have or they can switch to the other.”
Don’t wait for an updated vaccine
Some people stuck with a fourth dose to get an updated vaccine. While we may eventually have specific vaccines or coronavirus vaccines, it is unclear when they might be available.
Murphy advised not to wait for an updated screenshot, as the danger is now. omicron BA.2 and . sub variants Bachelor 2.12.1 Already torn through the population. Ogbuagu thinks the case numbers we’re seeing now – pretty close 100,000 cases per day It is greatly underestimated as much is based on rapid at-home tests that are not reported and therefore not included in the official case count.
We know that staying on top of current vaccinations and getting a boost when you qualify restores protection against dangerous outcomes, even with new variants.
“We are in the midst of another wave of infections so now is the time to get this,” Ogbwago said.
Experts are still learning about COVID-19. The information in this story is what was known or available as of publication, but the guidance could change as scientists learn more about the virus. Please check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest recommendations.