Singapore suggests Pfizer recipients get a Moderna booster. Should you do it too?

A medic places two vials of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines (L to R): Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, on a table before administering doses at a Clalit Health Services Medical Centre in east Jerusalem on August 10, 2021. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Singapore’s minister of health is advising people who got two Pfizer doses to consider mixing it up this time around.

Those who got Pfizer for their first two doses and then get a Moderna booster shot are 72% less likely to be infected by COVID-19, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a press conference Monday. Those who get the Pfizer vaccine for all three doses are 62% less likely to be infected, reports Yahoo News.

“Both mRNA vaccines work very well as boosters, with Pfizer-Pfizer-Moderna having a slight edge,” he said. “Regardless, the impact on the reduction of severity of illness is extremely high for both combinations.”

The health minister said they were also looking at Moderna-Moderna-Pfizer effectiveness, but the sample size studied so far was still too small to draw meaningful conclusions.

In the United States, mixing and matching vaccine doses is now allowed. It’s especially recommended for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their first round of vaccination.

When the new booster shot mix-and-match rules were announced last month, we asked Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, what he would do if he were a J&J recipient: get another J&J dose or get a different type?

“No question: I’d get an mRNA,” Wachter said, giving a slight edge to Moderna over Pfizer when granted the choice.

Wachter said there was less evidence to support mixing and matching Pfizer and Moderna at the time. “There is weak evidence that using the other mRNA might lead to a slightly stronger response,” he said.

The one scenario in which Wachter strongly suggests mixing and matching is if you had an adverse reaction to Pfizer or Moderna the first time around, other than the routine side effects. In that case, you might want to talk to your doctor about getting the other type of vaccine for your booster.


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