WASHINGTON — It's been more than 8 months since the first doses of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines were first administered, and health officials have repeatedly reassured that the vaccines remain effective, and that they have not seen a drop-off in protection.
But that hasn't stopped the steady flow of questions coming to the Verify team, especially as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads across the country.
"My husband I got the Johnson & Johnson shot; can we go and get the Pfizer shot due to a stronger virus that's coming out?" one viewer wrote in an email. "We want to make sure we are safe."
Another viewer wrote: "I received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine in January. Can I get a Moderna dose now as an extra precaution, especially against Delta variant?"
If I'm already fully vaccinated, should I take an additional "booster" dose from another brand, in order to get extra protection?
WHAT WE FOUND:
Our experts all agree, you should not get an additional vaccine dose from a different brand after you've been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"There's no recommendation that people who are fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines available in the United States need to go out and get an additional dose from an alternative manufacturer," Dr. Adalja said. "There are studies going on on mixing and matching, maybe to optimize immune response, but none of that has been definitively established at this time.”
Dr. Schaffner agreed called it a "data-free zone."
"Do we know what sort of advantage it would give you? What about those side effects? Could they be worse if you do that?" Dr. Schaffner said. "And so without any information to provide people who wish to do this—and there are a number of people—we're in a circumstance where it's kind of wait and see, wait for data to come in."
At this point, all our experts say boosters—same brand or not—aren’t recommended in the United States.
“If you have received your vaccine series, hold tight, you do not need a booster. You do not need an additional vaccine...that may change in the future,” Dr. Nabha said.
So we can Verify, no, don't go and get an extra dose from another brand because you feel like it. No one is recommending that at this point.