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Johnson & Johnson has a booster shot, too, and it’s pretty strong

Johnson & Johnson said its COVID-19 booster shot could increase protection against COVID-19

Syringes full of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine await patients during a drive-thru vaccination clinic.
Syringes full of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine await patients during a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Intermountain Healthcare’s The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray on Thursday, March 4, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

All of this talk about Pfizer’s booster shot might make you miss the fact that Johnson & Johnson has a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, too, and it’s highly effective.

Does Johnson & Johnson have a COVID-19 booster shot?

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that people who received their COVID-19 booster shots were better protected against COVID-19 over a longer period of time compared to those who only got one shot of its vaccine.

  • “Our large real-world-evidence and Phase 3 studies confirm that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides strong and long-lasting protection against COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Additionally, our Phase 3 trial data further confirms protection against COVID-19 related death,” said Mathai Mammen, global head of Janssen research and development for Johnson & Johnson, in a statement.

How strong is Johnson & Johnson’s new shot?

Data show that one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be 66% protective against moderate and severe COVID-19 disease around the world (or about 72% effective in the U.S.), according to NPR.

  • However, those who received the Johnson & Johnson booster shot saw protection rise to 94%.
  • And the booster — offered six months after the first shot — increased antibodies 12-fold.

Does the FDA approve of COVID booster shots?

The new data will help Johnson & Johnson make an argument to the Food and Drug Administration that Johnson & Johnson patients need a COVID-19 booster, according to CNBC.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration rejected a plan to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all Americans, despite the Biden administration wanting Americans to receive booster shots.

  • The FDA committee of experts approved booster shots for older Americans (those over 65) and anyone who is at high risk for severe COVID-19, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
  • Neither Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines were not mentioned during this meeting.

The FDA panel suggested that there’s not enough data showing the need for booster shots yet, according to The Associated Press.

  • “I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” said Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University at the meeting, per The Associated Press. “And I think it’s important that the main message we transmit is that we’ve got to get everyone two doses.”