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VERIFY: You can mix Moderna and Pfizer for third COVID-19 vaccine doses, but only if it's really necessary

WCNC Charlotte viewers had questions about whether brand matters for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People with weakened immune systems are getting their third dose of COVID-19 vaccines after federal regulators signed off on them late last week. 

The Food and Drug Administration ruled that transplant recipients and other similarly immune-compromised patients can get a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. But the decision offers an extra dose only to those high-risk groups — not the general public.

Some are reaching out to VERIFY, wondering which brand to get and whether it matters what brand a person's first shots were.

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Sources

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. David Priest, infectious disease specialist with Novant Health

Question 1

WCNC Charlotte viewer Ron S. wanted to know: Does an additional dose have to be the same brand as a person's first two doses?

Answer

It's highly recommended that a person sticks with the same brand for their third shot, but as a last resort, they can switch between mRNA brands.

"Try to stick with the brand of vaccine you got for the first two doses, but it's not a hard-and-fast rule," Priest said.

According to the CDC, if a person does not know or cannot access their original mRNA brand, they can receive either mRNA vaccine.

More guidance on the third dose for immunocompromised people here.

Question 2

WCNC Charlotte viewer Lisa B. asked: Can someone switch from Johnson & Johnson to another brand for their additional dose?

Answer

By the official guidance: No. However, that has not stopped some from skirting around that to receive an additional shot anyways.

"Roughly 900,000 people across the country who got Johnson and Johnson have already gotten an mRNA booster. So, that's already happening, but there's no official guidance on that yet," Priest said.

Right now, the CDC says it still needs more information on how safe and effective it is to mix Johnson and Johnson with another brand, and that research is already underway.

RELATED VERIFY: Yes, in rare cases, your COVID-19 shots can be from different brands

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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