URMC researchers clear up confusion around COVID-19 booster shots

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) researchers tried to clear up the confusion Tuesday surrounding COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

Right now boosters are not being recommended for everyone, but if you fall in the category that should get one, timing will depend on your original dose.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was ok to mix and match Covid vaccine booster shots if it’s recommended you get one. Researchers here at URMC took part in studying the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching doses.

"Right now the booster vaccines are recommended for those 65 and older, those 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions that would make them at more risk for severe disease, and those 18 to 64 with occupational exposures like teachers, medical professionals, bus drivers," said URMC Assistant Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Dr. David Dobrzynski.

If you fall into one of those categories, you should get your booster at least six months after completing your original series. However, the CDC is recommending everyone 18 and older who received the single dose Johnson & Jonshon COVDI-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago get a single booster shot of either Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna.

"Our study that we did here with the mix and match with the Johnson & Johnson really showed that adding an extra second does to the Johnson & Johnson is really beneficial. It helps to boost the antibody level up to the range of the two-dose Pfizer and the two-dose Moderna shot," Dobrzynski said.

Right now doctors are not recommending booster shots for fully vaccinated, healthy adults who got the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines.

"Who is going to get really sick, who’s going to end up in the hospital, who is at risk of dying even if they’re vaccinated. Right now we are seeing those risks increase in older people were seeing those risks increase and people with underlying medical conditions but in young healthy people were not necessarily seeing those risks for severe illness and death increasing," said Dr. Angela Branche, Assistant Professor, URMC Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases.

Researchers say it’s ok to mix and match for your booster shot but, they still do not recommend mixing and matching for your original series.