An FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended Friday that the agency OK booster shots of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine — amid fears that those who received the single-dose shot are less protected.
The group voted to endorse the J&J shot for those over age 18, saying boosters should be offered at least two months after immunization.
The federal Food and Drug Administration is not bound to follow the panel’s endorsement but often does — and the decision could help expand the country’s booster campaign.
The panel cited growing concerns that the more than 15 million Americans who have received an initial dose of J&J seem to be less protected than those who had a two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
They added that many of those who received J&J shots got their immunizations months ago.
The panel’s recommendation comes after the FDA last month authorized a booster dose of Pfizer for people at high risk of COVID-19.
The advisory panel recommended the same approach for Moderna recipients Thursday.
The FDA will use the panel’s recommendations to decide whether to authorize booster shots for both the J&J and Moderna vaccines.
Moderna and Pfizer had asked the FDA to give the green light for boosters at least six months after immunization — compared to J&J’s two months.
J&J’s single-shot vaccine is made with a different technology than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The J&J shot has consistently shown lower levels of effectiveness.
The company said last month that a second dose of the J&J vaccine about two months after the first boosted its effectiveness against symptomatic infection to 94 percent from 70 percent.
Studies have already shown the J&J shot is less effective against the Delta variant than against the original version of COVID-19.
The vast majority of the 188 million Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have received either the Pfizer or Moderna shots.
With Post wires
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