TAMPA, Fla. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 million Americans are vaccinated with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Friday, the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee will review safety and efficacy data to see if they should expand Johnson & Johnson's emergency use authorization to include a booster shot for its COVID-19 vaccine.
“Johnson & Johnson came out with some of their data so this is actually an arm of their phase three clinical trial that they intentionally added to have a second dose in there to see how it works,” said Dr. Michael Teng, Virologist and Associate Professor for USF Health.
What the FDA Advisory Committee will be working to figure out is what’s the best timing for a second dose of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier this month the company asked the FDA to authorize booster shots for its vaccine but has left it up to the FDA and the CDC to decide who should get one and when.
“We know that in the beginning, it was a little bit less effective, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on a single dose, still highly effective but a little less effective than the mRNA vaccines. The second dose seems to raise that efficacy right back up to very highly effective similar to the mRNA vaccines,” said Teng.
Johnson & Johnson said its data shows a booster dose is recommenced at six months or later after receiving the first dose, but could be administered as early as two months after.
The FDA will be looking to see if the company has submitted enough information to recommend boosters.
“What J&J has shown, their data, it looks pretty promising so I can imagine that that would certainly go through,” said Teng.
The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.
The advisory committee is scheduled to vote on the J&J boosters in the afternoon.
After that, they’ll take up the issue of mixing and matching doses of different COVID-19 vaccine brands, looking into if it’s safe and effective.
The National Institutes of Health did a study that shows mixing shots can produce a robust immune response.
The study only included 458 people though and has not yet been peer-reviewed.