Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) authorized mix-and-match booster shots in Maryland on Friday, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave final approval to the approach for an additional vaccine dose this week.
“Eligible Marylanders may now choose which vaccine they want for a booster, even if it is different from what they received initially,” Hogan said in a statement. “With aggressive outreach, Maryland has now administered more than 250,000 booster shots. We continue to have both the supply and the capacity to provide a booster shot to anyone who needs one.”
Tens of millions of additional Americans are now eligible to receive a booster dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines, after federal health officials gave the green light late Thursday to follow-up doses of the shots made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Anyone who received the one-shot J&J vaccine is now eligible for a second dose at least two months after their shot.
Moderna recipients who are over age 65 or at higher risk due to their medical condition or work environment also are eligible for a partial third dose at least six months after their second shot.
Those who received Pfizer’s vaccine already were eligible to receive a booster dose.
Under public health orders in Maryland, vaccine providers are not allowed to turn away someone who self-attests to eligibility for a vaccine booster.
The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also allows individuals to receive a booster dose from a different company than the one that manufactured the initial vaccine that they received.
Some have wanted a different followup dose due to adverse reactions to a certain vaccine. Others have been concerned about the J&J shot, which studies have shown to have a lower efficacy against infection compared to the ones from Pfizer and Moderna.
The three vaccines against COVID-19 “are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said in a statement Thursday night.
A Pfizer study released Thursday showed that a booster dose of the company’s vaccine was 95.6% effective in the trial of more than 10,000 participants.
The newly authorized booster shots come as the sharp spike in infections and deaths caused by that delta variant has begun to wane.
But the country is still seeing about 75,000 new cases every day, and about 1,300 COVID-19-related deaths, according to CDC tracking data.
In Maryland, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, there were 863 new COVID cases and 14 additional deaths reported on Friday morning.