What should Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients do when it comes to booster shots?
Following the preliminary data from a federal clinical trial, people who received a Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine may be better off getting a booster from Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.
With mixed reviews on the Johnson & Johnson booster data coming from the FDA, the answer to how those 15 million Americans who received the single-dose vaccine should proceed is up in the air.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health had nine groups of roughly 50 people receive one of the three authorized vaccines, followed by a booster. In the three groups, volunteers received the same vaccine for a booster; in the other six, they switched to a different one, the New York Times reported.
This led researchers to find that those who started with a J&J shot, followed by a Moderna booster, saw their antibody levels rise 76-fold within 15 days, whereas those who received another dose of J&J only saw a fourfold increase. A booster from Pfizer-BioNTech raised antibody levels in J&J recipients 35-fold.
Despite the data showing an increase in immunity, the authors cautioned about the small sample size, noting that they did not follow the volunteers long enough to identify potential rare side effects.
Researchers also only looked for antibodies that can stop the coronavirus from multiplying cells; they did not look to see how the booster trains immune cells to recognize and kill infected cells.
The FDA is planning to discuss the findings of the J&J vaccine and determine its future use in the U.S. An additional shot has been authorized from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those older than 65 or with a health condition or job exposures that make them high risk.
The decision was also made on Thursday to emergency-authorize the use of a booster shot from Moderna for those in the same categories.