Johnson & Johnson booster shot prompts increase in immune response, company says

Johnson & Johnson says a second dose of its COVID vaccine generated a strong immune response.

According to the company, recipients saw a 9-fold increase in antibody levels when compared to one month after the first dose.

"New interim data from these studies demonstrate that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generated a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination," the company said. "Significant increases in binding antibody responses were observed in participants between ages 18 and 55, and in those 65 years and older who received a lower booster dose."

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The company did not specify when that second dose was administered, but reports say it was likely six months after the first dose.

"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," said Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson. "We look forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy for our Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, boosting eight months or longer after the primary single-dose vaccination."

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The New York Times reports that Johnson & Johnson will submit the data to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is evaluating similar data on boosters from Pfizer and Moderna.

Booster shots are expected to become widely available next month. People with compromised immune systems are already able to get a third COVID vaccine shot and starting September 20, the rest of American adults will be able to get one too. 

According to the CDC, people with moderate to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. If you get a booster, it should be the same brand as the first two.

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