Allowing the opportunity to strengthen the immunization of those vaccinated for COVID-19 over six months, the Food and Drug Administration approved booster shots of the Moderna vaccine and Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while also permitting individuals to combine different vaccines for booster shots. An advisory committee to the FDA also voted to recommend a low dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, those 18 and older who received the first dose at least two months ago are now eligible for any booster shot.

For Moderna and Pfizer, anyone age 65 and older, between the ages of 18 and 65 who are immunocompromised, or at increased risk of COVID-19 due to occupation or living situations are eligible for a booster shot.

“Today’s actions demonstrate our commitment to public health in proactively fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a press release. “As the pandemic continues to impact the country, science has shown vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective way to prevent COVID-19.”

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Following this announcement, University Health Services is now offering booster shots for all of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to eligible groups. Students can schedule a booster shot at myUHS or the my UHS app.

Public Health Madison Dane County guidance states that individuals may receive any brand of vaccine for their booster dose regardless of the initial vaccine dose brand, UHS spokesperson Marlena Holden said.

UHS offering the booster shots to eligible students is a decision guided by PHMDC, UHS Executive Director Jake Baggott said in an email to The Badger Herald.

“We are happy to offer vaccinations and boosters to the UW-Madison campus community,” Baggott said. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and the high rate of vaccinations shows that our campus cares about the community.”

The updated emergency use authorization was based on safety data from 149 Moderna participants and about 9,000 Johnson & Johnson participants in original clinical trials showed a boosted antibody response, according to a press release from the FDA.

Additionally, clinical trial data from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases was evaluated to show that the potential benefits of choosing a heterologous booster shot, meaning a different vaccine from the first dose, outweigh the potential risks.

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More information on vaccinations and scheduling them can be found at UHS. Those who are looking to get vaccinated should check websites of local and state health departments for more information and guidance on vaccinations, associate professor of population health sciences Ajay Sethi said in an email to The Badger Herald.

“Waning immunity among those with healthy immune systems and previously vaccinated warrants an additional dose to boost their protection against severe Covid illness,” Sethi said. “Research to date has shown that the booster shot may be the same or a different brand and all combinations are safe.”

This story was updated on Oct. 30 at 10:30 a.m. to remove part of a statement made by UHS Director Jake Baggot that stated it was not recommended to mix J&J boosters with Pfizer and Moderna. The story now reflects PHMDC guidance that individuals may receive any brand of vaccine for their booster dose regardless of the initial vaccine dose brand.