Alabama health experts recommend mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccine boosters

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Federal regulators have backed the mix and match approach for COVID-19 booster shots for people who have received Johnson and Johnson, Modena, or Pfizer vaccinations, saying the booster doesn’t need to be the same brand as the initial dose.

But some still have concerns regarding the booster shot plan.

Thursday, medical experts with the Medical Association of Alabama addressed concerns raised as to safety issues involving the mix and match approach.

People want to know whether it will provide broader protection against the new variants that are already a dominant form of the disease in the U.S.  

“We used to give shingle shots that way or some other hepatitis series that way. And we don’t ever think about it again, says Dr. Michael Saag, Infectious Disease Expert.

Dr. Saag and physicians with the Medical Association of the state of Alabama all agree that the same theory still applies when it comes to mixing and matching these three vaccination platforms. 

“I think personally I would mix and match.” 

Mix and match, but with noted stipulations 

“Specifically, if I got J&J, I would go to Pfizer or Moderna. If I got Pfizer, I would get Moderna but you want to make sure for this that you’re going to get a half dose, the fifty microgram Moderna.” 

Dr. Saag says over fifty micrograms will cause side effects, but it’s a sign that the body is building protection from COVID disease. People over the age of 65 or people aged 18 years or older with compromising conditions and are at a high risk of exposure are strongly encouraged to get the booster shot. 

“At every age group including all the way down to pediatric age groups where kids don’t get severely ill, there’s still a greater chance of serious illness or death from the natural illness than there is from the vaccine,” explained Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama State Health Officer.

The panel added If you received the J&J vaccine plus a booster shot, they do not recommend that you receive any additional COVID-19 vaccine shots.  

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