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Study finds mixing and matching vaccines is safe, effective

Subjects who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine produced stronger antibody levels, as much as 50 times higher, if they received a Pfizer or Moderna booster.

MINNEAPOLIS — Dr. Charles Crutchfield is a second-generation physician and a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. A man whose profession involves healing, he was recently diagnosed with cancer himself. 

"I'm actually battling non- Hodgkin's lymphoma right now, I'm getting my treatments at the Mayo Clinic and I'm doing well," Crutchfield shared. 

Dr. Crutchfield is one of more than 200,000 Minnesotans who has received his booster, an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

That extra dose is approved for those 65 and older, as well as those 18 to 64 who are either at high risk of severe COVID because of an underlying medical condition, or people with jobs or living situations that put them at high risk

"I did mix and match and I got two Pfizer and my third was Moderna," Crutchfield told KARE 11's Charmaine Nero. 

While it has been the subject of recent debate, a National Institute of Health (NIH) study about mixing and matching COVID 19 vaccines found the approach to be "safe and effective." Mixing and matching happens when someone gets a booster shot different from the type used in the initial vaccine in the vaccination series. For example, someone would get two doses of Moderna vaccine then follow up with a Pfizer booster. 

The study, released Wednesday and not yet peer reviewed, found that those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine produced stronger antibody levels, as much as 50 times higher, after they received a booster shot made by Moderna or Pfizer, compared to a second shot (booster) from Johnson & Johnson. 

The study also shows that those who were originally vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines received similar strong immune system responses when mixed and matched among each other.

"Yes I mixed and matched, and I had no problems with that and that's actually predicted to be the choice for people with Johnson & Johnson," Crutchfield reiterated. 

While the doctor hosts a vaccination site at his clinic, he's encouraging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. "Last but not least, I tell people 99% of people who die from COVID are not vaccinated, the good news is that dying from COVID today is optional."

The findings from the study will be officially presented Friday to the FDA's advisory committee. 

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