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With potential for COVID-19 booster, mixing vaccine brands could offer more protection, experts say

Posted at 2:08 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 18:18:25-04

(WXYZ) — Health experts in metro Detroit are revealing more science behind the booster shots we are expecting to see rolled out come fall to protect against delta and other variants of COVID-19.

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“Once we start seeing protection dwindling, boosters will be needed. There’s a response when immune response fades, and it’s more pronounced in the elderly,” said Dr. Matthew Sims, director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Health.

Issuing an important message about safety, Dr. Sims said when it comes to booster shots, it’s not a one size fits all approach. In fact, he said research is already showing us that choosing between Moderna, Pfizer and J&J comes down to science.

"What we’ve seen is if you get the J&J and boost with a Pfizer, you actually get a bigger response, so mixing actually seems to potentially give a little more response,” said Dr. Sims.

In part of a recent statement, Moderna researchers telling the public, “we believe a booster (dose 3) is likely to be necessary this fall, particularly in the face of delta.”

And those at the forefront of developing the next wave of protection will be building on data that exists, plus emerging variant trends.

"Pfizer and Moderna are working on delta vaccines. That’s where they’ve changed the sequence of the RNA slightly," he said.

In Wayne County, leaders have and continue to urge citizens to consider wearing masks indoors, and to get vaccinated if you haven’t already.

Two members of Congress are weighing in to say this time of year must also be taken into account.

"We know as our children go back to school, our children and elderly are our two most vulnerable groups and we must protect them,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib says, “there are children now not vaccinated who are infants and so forth. We need to be sure we are protecting everyone and stopping the spread, which means wearing a mask.”

Dr. Sims also indicated that first responders, those with compromised immune systems and the elderly community are likely to be in the first wave of those requiring a booster shot in the fall, and it could eventually become more routine for us all and more efficient to roll out.

"Like we do with flu every year, change it and do a safety test and move on,” said Dr. Sims.

He also points out, no one is being told to get a booster shot at this point. However, mutations of the virus are happening rapidly enough to be considered.