Daily Management Review

Experts Considering Need For Booster Dose For J&J Single Shot Covid Vaccine Against Delta Variant


Experts Considering Need For Booster Dose For J&J Single Shot Covid Vaccine Against Delta Variant
The increasing prevalence of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant has prompted infectious disease experts in the United States to consider the requirement for a booster dose of the covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, or Moderna mRNA-based vaccines for those Americans who have been inoculated with Johnson & Johnson's single dose vaccine.
Even through there is no published data about whether a combination of two different vaccines is safe and effective or any direction from the health regulators of the US, there are some who say that they already taken a booster dose. Health regulators in Canada and some European countries have already allowed people to get a combination of two different Covid-19 vaccine shots.
The current debate in the US and in other parts of the world is on the level of effectiveness of the J&J vaccine against the Delta variant of the coronavirus which was first identified in India and has now spread to more than 90 countries.
Rochelle Walensky, the Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US has warned that since the Delta variant of the coronavirus has been found to cause more severe disease and is far more infectious than the other variants, it could quickly turn into the dominant variant of the virus in the US. 
The level of protection that the J&J vaccine gives against the new variant is currently not available. Studies in the United Kingdom have however shown that two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines is able to provide significantly more protection to people against the Delta variant compared to just one shot.
This idea was raised on his podcast this week by Andy Slavitt, former senior pandemic advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden. US regulators need to address the issue in short order, said at least half a dozen prominent infectious disease experts.
Stanford professor Dr. Michael Lin said: "there's no doubt that the people who receive the J&J vaccine are less protected against disease," compared to those who were given two doses of the other vaccines. "From the principle of taking easy steps to prevent really bad outcomes, this is really a no brainer," Lin added.
Booster shots are not currently being advised by the CDC. There is also no significant data that conclusively shows that there is a decline in protection from the vaccines, said advisors to the agency at a public meeting this week.
A Pfizer dose at the Philadelphia vaccine clinic was recently administered to Jason Gallagher, an infectious diseases expert at Temple University’s School of Pharmacy, where he also has been administering shots. He had got the J&J vaccine in a clinical trial in November.
There were concerns about the data emerging form the UK about lower efficacy against the Delta variant for those who had been given just one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
"While the situation has gotten so much better in the U.S., the Delta variant that's spreading ... and really quickly taking over in the U.S. looks a little more concerning in terms of the breakthrough infections with the single-dose vaccines," he said. "So I took the plunge."