Fourth Dose Boosters: Should You Mix and Match?

Evidence suggests that switching up the type of vaccine for the third dose produced a more robust immune response.

While there isn’t a lot of data available on the fourth dose booster yet, infectious disease experts suspect that mixing up the type would again be beneficial.

study from the National Institutes of Health found that boosting with a different type of shot than what was previously administered was associated with higher antibody levels than people who boosted with the same type of shot.

The benefits of switching up doses is particularly noted for those who received the Johnson & Johnson shot, who are recommended to receive a booster of either of the mRNA vaccines.

“When it comes to the numbers that matter the most, which is preventing hospitalization, severe disease and death, there is literally no difference,” said a Yale Medicine infectious disease specialist. “The mRNAs boost each other well, but Moderna probably has a little bit of an edge.”

This is likely because Moderna has a higher antigen dose and longer dosing interval compared to Pfizer. A study evaluating the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines recently found that people who’ve received the Moderna shot had more antibodies within the mucus lining in the nose, which helps prevent infection.

Don’t Hold Out For an Updated Vaccine

While we may eventually have variant-specific or pan-coronavirus vaccines, it’s unclear when they may be available.

We know that staying on top of the current vaccines and getting boosted when eligible restores protection against severe outcomes, even with new variants.

The Omicron subvariants are producing a wave of infections that is likely underestimated at approximately 100,000 cases a day.


You can check the CDC website here for more information on the Covid-19 boosters.