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CDC 'starting to see mix-and-match data' for COVID-19 vaccines: Director

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read
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With the Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) booster guidance in the rearview mirror, the CDC and the country's other regulatory and public health agencies are gearing up to tackle Moderna's (MRNA) and eventually Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) booster filings for recipients of those vaccines.

Meanwhile, many have wondered why the U.S. is not following Europe's and Canada's lead in allowing mixing and matching of vaccine brands in order to be considered fully vaccinated or for booster doses.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Yahoo Finance that information is not too far away.

"We're starting to see some of the mix-and-match data," she said, noting that studies are already underway.

"As soon as we have those data to present, both to the FDA and to the CDC, we'll have recommendations there as well," Walensky said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said Tuesday the first batch of data pertains to Moderna as a booster for either the J&J or Pfizer vaccines.

That data is available now, and data from trials of the other two vaccines as mixed boosters are forthcoming in the next month.

NIAID told Yahoo Finance that the data has been sent to the FDA and the CDC's advisory panel (ACIP), and it is unclear when that data will be made available to the public.

CDC still considering mix-and-match vaccines despite overseas data

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) began a trial evaluating the potential back in June, at the same time that Canada's government gave a nod to mix-and-match.

The Canadian government allowed mRNA doses to be mixed with AstraZeneca (AZN) doses when the latter struggled to deliver enough doses in time. Officials said then that data from the U.K. and Spain proved it was safe and effective against COVID-19 and is a common practice with vaccines for other diseases.

The latter is how some experts feel, and they are frustrated by the FDA and CDC's unwillingness to move forward with the strategy.

Dr. Aaron Carroll, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Indiana University, recently made the comparison to annual flu shots.

"It's not as if each year we authorize a brand of flu shot. This system is not built right," Carroll told Yahoo Finance.

Walensky cited not enough data to approve mix-and-match yet, despite the overseas data available. This, despite the availability of overseas data — which was the strategy used in authorizing Pfizer's third dose.

The CDC's vaccine advisory panel members, who met last week for Pfizer's vaccine, wanted to discuss mixing and matching, though there was no vote scheduled on the topic.

The topic is also important as the U.S. is set to loosen restrictions on international travel next month and has had to consider countries who used non-FDA-approved/authorized vaccines or those that allowed mixing and matching.

Cruise lines have already had to contend with the issue and have asked the CDC to weigh in.

Walensky said the Biden administration will decide by the time the travel restrictions are lifted. 

"We're working on the policies right now to assess what we'll be doing in early November," she said.

Follow Anjalee on Twitter @AnjKhem

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