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FDA panel to discuss Moderna, J&J and mix-and-match boosters

The committee has set dates to consider available data on Moderna's and Janssen's COVID-19 vaccines. It will also consider the research on mixing vaccine brands.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In less than two weeks, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will discuss authorizing a booster dose for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) has set a meeting for Oct. 14 and 15 to consider the available data on these brands of boosters as well as research on mixing and matching brands.

"The available data make clear that protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in certain populations begins to decrease over time, so it’s important to evaluate the information on the use of booster doses in various populations," Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said.

The move comes a little more than a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on a booster shot for certain groups who received the Pfizer vaccine.

Late last month, Johnson & Johnson released more findings from its booster research, showing a second shot given two months after a first shot bumped up antibodies four to six times.

The company says, given six months after a first dose, the booster increased antibodies nine- to 12-fold.

Doctors have weighed in on the importance of adequately spacing out shots in a vaccine series.

Dr. David Montefiori, a professor and director of the Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Research and Development at Duke University Medical Center, said it has to do with letting the immune system prepare for the next response.

"If you get these two vaccines too close together, then the total length of time that the spike protein is in your body, for it to respond to it, is shorter," Montefiori said.

In North Carolina, 67% of the vaccine-eligible population, which includes people 12 and older, are at least partially vaccinated.

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