Millions more Americans are slated to become eligible for Covid-19 booster shots now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized additional doses for anyone who received Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and certain high-risk populations who got Moderna Inc.'s.
The decision marks a critical step toward making boosters for all three vaccines broadly available in the U.S. Yet regulators acknowledged during a press call late Wednesday that different eligibility conditions for each vaccine could lead to complications in the booster rollout.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said her agency has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health officials who will be distributing vaccines to make sure providers have as much information as possible.
“Yes, it could be confusing,” Woodcock said on a call with reporters.
A panel of advisers for the CDC is meeting Thursday to discuss mixing and matching boosters, and who should get the extra doses from Moderna and J&J. Those boosters would become available in the U.S. if the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices calls for boosters and the CDC adopts those recommendations. The agency typically makes a decision shortly after the advisory panel meeting.
Peter Marks, director of the FDA center that regulates vaccines, said charts and other helpful guidelines are under development to ease understanding of who can get what booster.
“Although it is not simple,” he said, “it’s not probably hopelessly complex.”
Here’s how to navigate the FDA’s regulatory decisions: