A different brand of vaccine booster may be more suitable, according to a recent study
The Food and Drug Administration is mulling over whether or when to give another dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, while a new study out Wednesday suggests that using if different brands as the booster may work better.
FDA scientists couldn't arrive at a definitive conclusion about whether or not J&J boosters have enough evidence, citing shortcomings with the company's data and limited information on protection against the extra-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus in an online review posted Wednesday.
The study comes ahead of meetings Thursday and Friday when an FDA advisory panel will decide whether to back booster doses of the J&J and Moderna vaccines. Step one in the governments vaccine review process is now complete. The FDA will make a final decision on the issue next week, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will examine who should get those boosters.
Adding to the complexity is whether or not its legal to use a booster thatll be radically different from someone s initial shots. Preliminary findings of a U.S. government study suggest that mixing and matching boosters will work at least as well and perhaps far better for J&J recipients. According to results posted online Wednesday, those who received a Moderna or Pfizer shot as their booster had fewer symptoms than those whose immune system responded stronger if they received another dose of the J&J vaccine. Mix-and-match is also expected to be discussed by the FDA panel this week.
All of the vaccines in use in the United States, according to health authorities, continue to offer a high level of protection against severe disease or death from COVID-19. However, in light of concerns that protection against milder infections may be waning, the government has already approved booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for certain individuals starting six months after their last dose.
Moderna also asked the FDA to clear its booster dose at six months, in order to achieve uniform recommendations. J&J, on the other hand, compliquierte the decision by proposing a second shot over 'a two-to-six-month period.
During a review by FDA officials, it was reported that despite the fact that only tens of thousands of people had gotten another six-month booster plan, if s/he demonstrated he may benefit from the two- month booster program.
Overall, the FDAs reviewers concluded that the J&J vaccine still provides protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death. But data on its effectiveness are consistently less than the protection seen with Pfizer and Moderna shots.
For its part, J&J filed with the FDA data from a real-world study that showed its vaccine is about 80 percent effective against hospitalizations in the United States.
J&Js single-dose vaccine, which is one-and-done, was highly anticipated. But a slew of problems, including manufacturing issues, and some rare but serious side effects, such as clot disorder and recurrent Guillain-Barre syndrome, hampered its rollout. In both cases, regulators determined that the shots benefits outweighed its risks.
The vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are manufactured by rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna. More than 170 million Americans have been fully vaccinated with those firms' two-dose vaccines, whereas less than 15 million people have received the J&J shot.