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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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'Mix and match' COVID vaccine boosters are effective, NIH study finds

Posted at 3:56 PM, Oct 18, 2021

(WXYZ) — A National Institutes of Health study on mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines and boosters found the approach to be safe and effective. 

It’s important to know that the NIH’s study was not designed to determine if a booster shot or a particular combination of COVID-19 vaccines was superior to the others.

It was more about looking to see if combining them was first of all safe, and secondly, how effective was this approach. You might be wondering, why is that?

Well, it would be helpful for a variety of reasons like, if one company had a manufacturing problem, or was short on a particular substance needed for the vaccine. Or, if someone found out they were more at risk for the blood clotting syndrome TTS that is linked to the J&J vaccine – which I must point out is very rare - then they could instead get Pfizer or Moderna as their second shot.

Getting back to the NIH study. Let me start with Johnson & Johnson first.

*The people who received the one-shot vaccine and then got a Moderna booster had antibody levels rise 76-fold. If they got a Pfizer booster shot, that lead to a 35-fold increase. If they got a second shot of the J&J vaccine, that lead to a 4-fold increase in antibody levels.

*Next are the mRNA shots:

- Volunteers who got Pfizer first and Moderna second saw a 32-fold increase. Whereas a Pfizer-Pfizer combo led to a 20-fold increase.

- And the volunteers who had Moderna first and Pfizer second ended up with antibody levels similar to what a Moderna-Moderna combo would give.

*Lastly, there were no antibody increases seen in the participants who had Pfizer or Moderna first followed with a J&J booster.

First of all, my condolences to General Colin Powell’s family. I had much respect for this distinguished man and former secretary of state. The General was fully vaccinated. As I’ve said before, our vaccines are not 100%. People who are immunocompromised are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Why I say that, is because General Colin Power was reported to have had multiple myeloma. That’s a type of incurable cancer that forms in white blood cells called plasma cells. This type of cancer lowers a person’s immunity and can suppress the body's immune response. Also, General Powell had Parkinson's. People with Parkinson's have a harder time recovering from COVID. If they end up hospitalized, they face a greater risk of complications and unfortunately, death as we’ve seen with General Powell.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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