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VERIFY: If we need booster shots do we get the same brand as our COVID-19 vaccines?

There is testing going on to figure out if boosters will be needed in the pandemic. There is also testing looking at mixing vaccines and boosters.

WASHINGTON — The CEOs of several vaccine drug companies have claimed we will need booster shots to the vaccines. How would that work? Will you need the same brand as your original vaccine?

A viewer sent us a question about boosters in an email. They wanted to know if we have to get booster shots and will the boosters have to be the same brand as the vaccines?  

Our Verify experts said the testing to figure that out is going on right now. But, you shouldn't get that information from Pfizer or Moderna; advice will come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

THE QUESTION

If we need to get boosters shots, do we stick with the same brand as our original vaccine?

THE SOURCES

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert from Vanderbilt University 
  • Dr. Anna Durbin, a vaccines expert from Johns Hopkins University

THE ANSWER

It is likely we may have to get the same brand, but tests are being done now to see if it is definite.

WHAT WE FOUND

“At the moment, the scientists and the companies and the NIH are working on kind of phase two vaccines so-called ‘boosters,’” Dr. Schaffner said. “We haven't decided we need them yet.”

RELATED: VERIFY: There is still no federal public health recommendation for COVID-19 booster shots

“The other good news is those are starting to be tested,” Dr. Durbin said. “Even different platforms or mixed vaccinations are also starting to be tested, particularly in the UK.”

Basically, while we don’t know if we need booster shots, the pharmaceutical companies have already started to test for them.

Our experts believe it is likely that if you got a Pfizer vaccine, you would then get the Pfizer booster. However, there is testing on mixing brands going on right now.

“We'd have to look at the data because we want to make sure we maximize the benefit and minimize the side effects,” Dr. Schaffner said.

Most importantly, with all this booster talk, all recommendations about booster shots need to come from FDA and the CDC, not the pharmaceutical companies.  

RELATED: VERIFY: What should you do if you have to delay your second COVID-19 vaccine?

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