If I had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, do I need a booster shot?

Booster could soon be recommended for all vaccinated Americans, sources say

FILE - In this June 23, 2021, file photo, a nurse prepares doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at an inoculation center operated by the Portuguese armed forces at Lisbon University's sports stadium. Portugal is one of the most vaccinated populations of the European nations. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File) (Armando Franca, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – With so much talk of booster shots, you may be wondering if you’ll soon need one.

As of now, the answer depends on when you completed your first vaccination and which shot you received.

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So far, third doses have only been recommended for recipients of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Click here to find out who’s currently eligible for an additional dose and where you can find one in Central Florida.

If and when a booster shot will be needed for recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still unclear. There’s little data on how another dose works in high-risk people who received that vaccine, although it’s likely a small number since fewer than 14 million Americans overall have received the J&J shot. Still, the CDC counts at least 90,000 who have gotten another dose on their own.

FDA vaccines chief Dr. Peter Marks said the agency is working to get more information about immune-suppressed J&J patients but that for now, the evidence only backs a recommendation of extra doses for Pfizer and Moderna recipients with fragile immune systems.

Officials are continuing to collect information about the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was only approved in the U.S. in late February, to determine when to recommend boosters.

Appointments to receive a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are immunocompromised are now available at CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.

As of this week, third COVID-19 vaccine doses have been approved for immunocompromised individuals who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Health officials are also considering COVID-19 vaccine boosters for the elderly as early as fall, saying a decision could come in the next couple weeks.

As for when a booster might be needed for other individuals, Americans who received the earliest doses of Pfizer’s vaccine — mainly health care workers and nursing home residents — are approaching the eight-month mark from when they received their second dose.

Studies show effectiveness of the vaccines waning about six months after the second dose in a two-shot series. Because of that, boosters may be needed for all vaccinated Americans, according to health officials.

Federal health officials have been looking at whether extra shots for the vaccinated would be needed as early as this fall, reviewing case numbers in the U.S. as well as the situation in other countries such as Israel, where preliminary studies suggest the vaccine’s protection against serious illness dropped among those vaccinated in January.

An announcement on the U.S. booster recommendation is expected as soon as this week, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Doses would only begin to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines, which are being dispensed for now under what is known as emergency use authorization. Full approval of the Pfizer shot is expected in the coming weeks.

The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said Sunday the U.S. could decide in the next couple of weeks whether to offer booster shots to Americans this fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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