New data from Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday is shedding light on booster shots and how effective they are months after you first rolled up your sleeve.
The company says a study showed that another shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine given 56 days after the first provided 94% protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in the U.S., as well as 100% protection against severe illness.
“For people that had the Johnson & Johnson [vaccine] and they were hearing about the boosters with either Moderna or Pfizer, I told them to be very patient. You still have protection, and number one, you will be protected against very severe illness, and number two, that should prevent you from having hospitalization,” said Dr. Kevin Sneed, the dean of USF’s Taneja College of Pharmacy.
Johnson & Johnson says when a booster of its vaccine was given two months after the first shot, antibody levels rose to four to six times higher than observed after the single shot, and when given six months after the single shot, it says antibody levels increased nine-fold one week after the booster and continued to climb to 12-fold higher four weeks after the booster.
“We’ve known again for a while that if you space out the time between one shot and then the second shot or a booster shot, almost the more time that you allow, the more robust immune response you’re going to have on that second booster shot,” said Sneed. “That has borne out to be true with the mRNA vaccines and has now shown to be the very same with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well.”
ABC Action News asked Dr. Sneed if he thinks boosters are necessary at this point in time. He says he thinks the jury for him is still out.
“On the one hand, I think we don’t need the booster at this current time, but if indeed the booster would allow you to prevent having a long-term ramification from being infected a second time, then maybe we need to look a little bit closer at getting a booster,” said Dr. Sneed.
When looking at real-world US data, Johnson & Johnson explained its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine showed 79% effectiveness for COVID-19-related infections. But no matter which COVID-19 vaccine, health experts explain all are good options.
“We want people to go get vaccinated. If Johnson & Johnson is a very good choice for you, you should go and get it today,” said Sneed.