Fauci thinks people will have flexibility to mix and match vaccines

Anthony Fauci said Sunday that be believes people who have taken the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine will have flexibility to mix-and-match booster shots based on their specific situations.

Fauci's comments follow the approval by a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel of booster shots for J&J vaccine recipients.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Fauci about the possibility of mixing vaccines created by different companies during an interview on Sunday.

"I think what needs to be done, and I believe will be done, is that there will be a degree of flexibility that will be left up to the individual based on their individual situation," Fauci answered.

He noted that data so far suggests people who have had the J&J vaccine might benefit more from a shot of a second vaccine produced by Moderna or Pfizer, which is based on a different technology than J&J's vaccine.

While the J&J vaccine has been proven to be an effective way of minimizing the severity of COVID-19 infections, data seems to indicate that its efficacy is not as strong over time as that of Moderna and Pfizer's respective vaccines.

"If you look at the data from J&J that they presented to the FDA, when they use their own product as a boost, it's based on clinical data from a clinical trial. The mix and match to which you refer shows that when you boost Moderna or Pfizer against the original J&J, you get a much higher antibody level," Fauci said.

"I believe there's going to be a degree of flexibility of what a person who got the J&J originally can do, either with J&J or with the mix-and-match from other products," he added. 

Last week, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel recommended authorization for booster shots for the J&J vaccine, a decision that followed a similar recommendation for Moderna's vaccine

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine has thus far been the only widely distributed single-shot dose in the United States.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines both are intended to be two-shot vaccines, with boosters recommended for people over 65, people with underlying health conditions and people in at-risk work situations.