CDC: If you got a J&J vaccine, you should consider Pfizer, Moderna booster

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday recommended that those who receive one or two shots of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine follow up with a booster of a messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

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The recommendation comes as data from recent studies show the combination of a J&J vaccine with an mRNA vaccine could produce a stronger immune response, which would lessen the risk of serious illness or hospitalization.

The study from the CDC that analyzed the results of mix-and-match vaccine-and-booster combinations showed that combining the J&J vaccine with one of the mRNA vaccines provided much stronger protection against severe COVID-19 symptoms than did the one-dose J&J shot with a J&J booster.

The study was conducted during the four-month period when the omicron variant was dominant and analyzed data from more than 80,000 emergency room or urgent care visits in 10 states. The data included information collected on more than 25,000 hospitalizations among adults.

Researchers analyzing the data found that:

· A single J&J shot offered 24% effectiveness.

· Two J&J shots offered 54% effectiveness.

· A combination of J&J shot(s) with one mRNA booster offered 79% effectiveness.

· Three mRNA shots offered 83% effectiveness.

According to a CDC fact sheet on the J&J shot, the vaccine “was 66.3% effective in clinical trials at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection in people who received the vaccine and had no evidence of being previously infected. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated.”

Data from a study by Johnson & Johnson showed 85% effectiveness against hospitalization in South Africa when the omicron variant was the dominant variant.