JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that a booster of its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine provides a stronger immune response months after people receive a first dose.
Dr. Chirag Patel, assistant chief medical officer at UF Health Jacksonville, stresses that the science is indeed working, and this is just one example.
“It’s good news for those individuals, 14.8 million or so individuals who got the initial J&J shot,” Patel said. “Even with one shot alone, it’s extremely effective — 79% against COVID infection, 81% against COVID-related hospitalization. That puts it up there with some of the most effective vaccines that have ever been made, so one shot alone is already effective enough.”
A two-dose approach, with the second dose given 56 days after the first, was 75% effective globally at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and 94% effective in the U.S. alone, the company reported — a difference likely due to which variants were circulating in different countries during the monthslong study.
Examined a different way, the company said when people got a second J&J shot two months after the first, levels of virus-fighting antibodies rose four to six times higher. But giving a booster dose six months after the first J&J shot yielded a 12-fold increase.
The company previously published data showing its one-shot dose provided protection for up to eight months after immunization. It also pointed to recent real-world data showing 79% protection against coronavirus infection and 81% protection against COVID-19 hospitalization in the U.S. even as the extra-contagious delta variant began spreading.
Patel said he thinks eventually the J&J shot will be cleared for children. He’s urging people to trust the science.
“This isn’t experimentation. What this is, is a scientifically studied group of vaccines whose safety and effectiveness have been validated over and over again,” Patel said. “This is what it takes for us to stop the pandemic.”