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Why You May Want To Mix And Match Your COVID-19 Booster
With COVID-19 vaccinations ramping up to a fourth dose (i.e., second booster), you may want to consider a booster from the company you didn’t get your initial vaccination from, especially if you’ve received Johnson & Johnson. Of the three options, the CDC recommends Moderna or Pfizer's mRNA versions over Johnson & Johnson's more typical vaccine.
A CDC report from April 2022 documents a greatly reduced number of emergency room visits in patients with the J&J vaccine and an mRNA booster compared to those with the J&J vaccine and a J&J booster. This improved defense also appears to work with mixing and matching Moderna and Pfizer boosters, but the effect isn't as pronounced as it is with the J&J vaccine.
To be clear, mixing and matching is not recommended for your initial vaccination — if you're starting your first round of any COVID-19 vaccine that requires a second dose, make sure that the second dose is from the same source. It's the follow-up boosters that the CDC says are safe to get interchangeably, thereby granting you more freedom in setting up an appointment.