J&J COVID vaccine booster recommended by advisory panel

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Posted at 3:24 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 15:24:41-04

(WXYZ) — There are more developments today in the debate over whether Americans should get a COVID vaccine booster shot. An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted in favor of an extra dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

This afternoon, the FDA vaccine advisors reviewed the data on the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and discussed whether a booster shot is needed.

The panel’s vote was unanimous. They agreed to recommend emergency use authorization of an extra dose of the J&J vaccine at least two months after people get the first dose.

The important thing to note is they are recommending the booster for ALL people age 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and not just those who are at high risk of serious illness from the virus.

The committee agreed there was a need to supplement protection in the people who received the vaccine, given the lower effectiveness of the single shot. Johnson & Johnson’s studies show that an extra dose will increase the effectiveness to 94-percent. About 15 million people in the U.S. have received the single-dose vaccine.

The FDA will now consider the panel’s advice. If they agree with it, then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have the final say on whether to give emergency authorization to the J & J vaccine booster.

The FDA committee is also hearing about studies on the safety and effectiveness of mixing and matching vaccines for booster shots. A vote on that will come later.  

The FDA advisory panel also recommended an extra dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people at high risk. They voted yesterday to approve a half-dose booster of the Moderna vaccine for at-risk groups. That would include people age 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions, and those with jobs that put them at greater risk of exposure to the virus, such as health professionals like myself.

The advisors are recommending the Moderna booster shot beginning at least six months after the second shot was administered.

Again, in this case, if the FDA authorizes the third dose of Moderna vaccine for high-risk groups, it will be up to the CDC to make the final decision.

A Pfizer vaccine booster has already been approved for emergency use for these same at-risk groups. So far, the CDC estimates 5-percent of fully vaccinated Americans have received the extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the developments surrounding the other vaccine booster shots.

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