How to pick which booster shot to get

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized a “mix-and-match” booster strategy under which eligible adults can choose one of three COVID-19 vaccines—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson—no matter which vaccine they got earlier.

An October 27, 2021 New York Times article offered advice on how to decide which booster to get. Studies have suggested that all available COVID-19 booster shots do a good job of protecting against severe disease and death, according to the article. But nuances among the studies might steer a person toward a particular vaccine.

To figure out what to do, experts quoted in the article recommended getting advice from your doctor, picking a vaccine that’s convenient, or picking one you’re familiar with.

Asaf Bitton, executive director of Ariadne Labs and associate professor of health care policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management, said that for patients who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he recommends mixing and matching with Moderna or Pfizer, based on early data that shows a higher antibody response with the latter vaccines. But for patients who received Moderna or Pfizer, he recommends sticking with what you know if you didn’t have any complications.

“The pragmatic side of me says if you got Pfizer and you did fine with that, then getting a booster of the same one makes sense,” Bitton said. “To track down that pharmacy that has Moderna instead of Pfizer—is it worth it? I’m not convinced yet with the data we have that it is.”

Read the New York Times article: Should I Mix or Match My Booster Shot?