The Oklahoman

J&J: Booster dose of shot prompts strong response


LONDON – Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that a booster of its one-shot coronaviru­s vaccine provides a stronger immune response months after people receive a first dose.

J&J said in statement that an extra dose – given either two months or six months after the initial shot – revved up protection. The results haven’t yet been published or vetted by other scientists.

The J&J vaccine was considered an important tool in fighting the pandemic because it requires only one shot. But even as rollout began in the U.S. and elsewhere, the company was alreadu running a global test of whether a twodose course might be more effective – the second dose given 56 days after the first.

That two-dose approach was 75% effective globally at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and 95% effective in the U.S. alone, the company reported – a difference likely due to which variants were circulatin­g in different countries during the monthslong study.

Examined a different way, the company said when people got a second J&J shot two months after the first, levels of virus-fighting antibodies rose four to six times higher. But giving a booster dose six months after the first J&J shot yielded a 12-fold increase.

While the single-dose vaccine remains strongly effective, “a booster shot further increases protection against COVID-19 and is expected to extend the duration of protection significantly,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement.

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.

J&J said it has provided the data to regulators including the U.S. Food and Drug Administra­tion, the European Medicines Agency and others to inform decisions about boosters.

J&J’s one-dose vaccine is approved for use in the U.S. and across Europe, and there are plans for at least 200 million doses to be shared with the U.N.backed COVAX effort aimed at distributi­ng vaccines to poor countries. But the company has been plagued by production problems and millions of doses made at a troubled factory in Baltimore had to be thrown out.

As the delta variant spread worldwide, numerous government­s have considered the use of booster shots for many of the COVID-19 vaccine options.

Last week, advisers to the FDA recommende­d people 65 and older get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. A final decision is still pending.

Britain previously authorized booster shots for people 50 and over and to priority groups like health workers and those with other health conditions. Countries including Israel, France and Germany have also begun offering third vaccine doses to some people.

 ?? SZILARD KOSZTICSAK/MTI VIA AP FILE ?? Johnson & Johnson said it found that a second dose of the vaccine showed an increased antibody response in adults.
SZILARD KOSZTICSAK/MTI VIA AP FILE Johnson & Johnson said it found that a second dose of the vaccine showed an increased antibody response in adults.

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