Johnson & Johnson says booster shot shows big benefits, strong response against COVID-19

Company recommends boosting single-shot vaccine 6 to 8 months after first dose

FILE - In this March 6, 2021, file photo, boxes stand next vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution in east Denver. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says the city will mandate all city employees and private sector workers in high-risk settings to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (David Zalubowski, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Johnson & Johnson says its single-dose vaccine works well, but add another dose and its vaccine will significantly boost protection against coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson announced early data from its studies regarding a booster shot. According to the company, another dose of its vaccine “generated a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies,” adding that it was nine-fold higher than 28 days after the first dose.

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Additionally, Johnson & Johnson touched upon data revealing that protections from its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine were strong and stable through eight months after vaccination and said a booster could be needed then. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is currently under emergency use authorization.

As far as its potential booster shot, Johnson & Johnson said early data showed a significant increase in antibody responses in study participants between the ages of 18 and 55. A similar response was seen in those 65 and older, though those participants received a lower booster dose. With this antibody response, the data proves those who get the extra shot will likely have stronger immune protection.

Though there is promising data about the booster in clinical trials, there’s a question of real-world effectiveness — which the J&J’s studies did not look at. This means data does not show whether people who get the boosters will be less likely to contract COVID-19 or develop severe illness.

“Johnson & Johnson continues to diligently generate and evaluate data from ongoing trials as well as emerging real-world evidence,” the company said in a statement.

J&J said it is now coordinating with health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to decide next steps to boost its COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have established that a single shot of our COVID-19 vaccine generates strong and robust immune responses that are durable and persistent through eight months. With these new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses among study participants who had previously received our vaccine,” Mathai Mammen, global head of the vaccines research and development team, said in a company statement.

Details about a potential Johnson & Johnson booster comes after the FDA fully approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Monday. Pfizer and Moderna have already started rolling out booster shots of their vaccines. Click here to learn more about booster shots and how they work.