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UVA Health expert explains whether or not you can mix and match COVID-19 vaccines

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Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Some people are wondering whether you can mix and match COVID-19 vaccines after gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe made a statement about the shots he received.

“I originally got the J&J single shot, and then I had my physical about six weeks later and it was interesting. I had no immunity, no antibodies in my body,” McAuliffe said. “So I went back ,and then I did the double Pfizer.”

UVA Health Ambulatory Pharmacy Services Manager Justin Vesser says mixing and matching full vaccination shots is not approved yet.

“It’s not been recommended by any of those bodies involved, though it is being actively studied by both Johnson & Johnson,” Vesser said.

The National Institute of Health now says mixing and matching COVID vaccine boosters is effective.

“The current recommendations are limited to Pfizer, though there are studies going on right now, and we expect that there will be recommendations coming soon for both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. At this point, the only recommended booster shot series is for Pfizer,” Vesser said.

Vesser says that taking an antibody test to see how protected you are from COVID-19, is not always accurate.

“You can’t definitively correlate the results of an antibody test to how well you’re protected against the virus, because the antibody levels either high or low do not equal immunity or lack of immunity,” Vesser said. “I’ll give some comfort in that all of the studies that show how people who got an initial series of either Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, or Moderna, they’re all showing strong immunity, even after all this time.”

A campaign spokesperson for McAuliffe said, “Terry sought advice of his doctor and recommends others always follow medical advice, too.”

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