Alabama health leaders welcome promising J&J booster shot results

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 8:40 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Another possible weapon against the COVID pandemic as Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that test results on a second shot shows promising results.

Alabama health leaders said if approved, this could be used against the pandemic.

A third shot for Pfizer is the only approved vaccine at this time. J&J still has to be okayed by the FDA and CDC, but the latest test results from the company is positive.

J&J announced Tuesday tests results show a second shot gives a 94% protection the COVID virus.

“Johnson & Johnson is a good vaccine. It hasn’t performed quite as well - quite as amazingly as Pfizer and Modena have, but with a second dose, that sort of changes the game a little bit. It’s an incredible vaccine,” said Dr. Wesley Willeford with the Jefferson County Department of Health.

The company reported those who get the second dose saw their immunity raised significantly against COVID. Test results looked at those who got a second shot two months after the first shot and six months. Both groups saw a dramatic increase in their antibody production for those who took the J&J vaccine.

“I think there is clearly going to be a population to whom a booster will make a huge difference. They are going to be those 65 and older. They are going to be those with underlying conditions,” said Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association.

Dr. Williamson said anything they can do to keep people from getting ill, they should do. So far, the FDA and CDC have limited who should get Pfizer booster shots to those 65 and older and to those with existing health conditions.

Willeford said Johnson & Johnson must also undergo a strict review.

“This is real time. We have to study these problems in real time and it takes time to study these problems effectively. So, I do expect changes in the recommendations in the coming months. So, I say stay tuned,” Willeford said.

J&J reported a booster shot six months after the first shot increases a person’s protection twelve-fold. FDA has to look and review the latest information. It’s estimated more than 14 million Americans have taken the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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