J&J to Follow Pfizer and Moderna in Requesting Authorization for Booster Shot
An expert advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to meet on Oct. 15 to discuss whether to grant emergency-use authorization for Johnson &Johnson’s COVID vaccine booster shots, the New York Times reported.
On Sept. 21, J & J submitted to the FDA data that said that while its first and only dose provides 70% protection against COVID, an additional second shot given approximately two months after the first increased its vaccine’s effectiveness by 94%.
Moderna, which created the vaccine that creates the highest level of immunity to COVID, submitted its application seeking authorization for a booster shot of its two-dose vaccine last month.
Although Moderna said in August that its vaccine remains 90% effective against preventing COVID for at least six months, studies that have followed patients six months after their second doses have shown a decline in patients’ antibody levels: especially against newer strains of the coronavirus, while a third shot of Moderna’s vaccine showed robust antibody responses against the variants, Moderna said.
Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal that the boosters are necessary because the immunity of recipients of the vaccines will continue to decrease over time.
“We’re playing it safe, not only for delta, but also for what’s coming after,” Bancel said. “I don’t think the virus is done.”
On Sept. 17, the FDA authorized the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine booster for Americans who are 65 years old and up, people who are immunocompromised, and those who work in environments that create high-risks for contracting COVID.
A study that was done in Israel over the summer showed that a booster shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine significantly improved protection from COVID.
In particular, the third shot of the Pfizer vaccine provided 60 year-olds and older four times as much protection after 10 days than those who only received two doses, according to findings from Israel’s Health Ministry on Sunday.
The booster also provided patients 60 and older five to six times stronger protection against hospitalization and serious illness after 10 days.
Although some American scientists think that people who are unvaccinated in the United States and around the world should be given their first and second doses before booster shots are distributed, in August, President Joe Biden strongly advocated for Americans to get a third, or in the case of J & J, a second dose to provide extra protection against the highly transmissible COVID variants, such as delta, mu, and others that have mutated from the original strain.
Mitch Katz, MD, the CEO of Health + Hospitals and many other top physicians have warned New Yorkers that the antibodies from previous infection only provide limited protection from infection of the same strain of COVID that first infected patients, and that vaccination is highly recommended to protect against infection with the newer COVID variants.
(Darren McGee- Office of Formor Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)