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CDC recommends booster shot for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines

The recommendation also allows for people to "mix and match" vaccines for their booster dose.

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A booster dose of the Moderna vaccine is recommended for older Americans and some at-risk adults. 

Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for millions of Americans. The move came shortly after an independent advisory committee to the CDC gave its recommendations on who should receive boosters and what type of booster they should get. 

The CDC said people who received Moderna's vaccine should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster at least six months after their second shot if they're age 65 or older or living in a long-term care facility, if they're an adult at risk of severe COVID-19 because of a medical condition, or if they're an adult at risk because of their work or setting. Last month, the CDC made the same recommendation for people who received the Pfizer vaccine

For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC recommended booster shots for people 18 and older who were vaccinated more than two months ago. 

"These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. "The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant."

The CDC didn't specify which booster shot people should receive, instead allowing for people to "mix and match" vaccines for their booster shot. 

"Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose," the CDC said in a release. "Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster."

The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death. Over the summer, as the delta variant took hold in the US, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 surged. Those who are unvaccinated have accounted for nearly all the hospitalizations and deaths.

While the US now has booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the US, just 3% of people living in low-income countries have received at least one vaccine dose.

The CDC also stressed that making sure people get an initial COVID-19 vaccine remains a priority, saying that more than 65 million Americans remain unvaccinated. 

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