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J&J announces second shot of COVID vaccine increases effectiveness to 94% in moderate, severe cases

The statistics will aid J&J's argument to US authorities for a booster injection, even as the firm emphasizes the durability of its single-shot vaccination as a weapon to combat the worldwide epidemic.

JJ second shot of COVID vaccine effectiveness to 94 per cent in severe case gcw
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California, First Published Sep 21, 2021, 5:49 PM IST
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Johnson & Johnson announced on Tuesday that the second dose of its COVID-19 vaccine given roughly two months after the first boosted its efficacy against moderate to severe forms of the illness in the United States to 94 per cent. This compared to a single dosage providing 70 per cent protection. The statistics will aid J&J's argument to US authorities for a booster injection, even as the firm emphasizes the durability of its single-shot vaccination as a weapon to combat the worldwide epidemic.

President Joe Biden advocates for booster injections in the face of rising hospitalizations caused by the Delta version, and J&J, the only pharmaceutical with a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the US, has been pressed to show proof on the efficacy of an extra dosage.
Dr Paul Stoffels, J&J's chief scientific officer, said in a statement that the firm has now "produced data that a booster injection further enhances protection against COVID-19."

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According to J&J, a booster dosage given two months after the initial treatment raised antibody levels four to six-fold. Data released this month revealed that when given six months after the first dosage, antibody levels increased twelvefold, indicating a significant improvement in protection with the extended gap between doses. The side effects of two doses were equivalent to those observed in single-dose vaccination trials. The data has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it will be published in the coming months.

To yet, only Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE has provided enough data for US authorities to determine if booster injections are necessary ahead of the Biden Administration's Sept. 20 deadline for handing out booster doses. This vaccine's fate is anticipated to be decided this week. On Friday, an FDA advisory group agreed to approve emergency permission of extra Pfizer injections for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of severe sickness. Still, they voted against broader clearance, citing a lack of data.

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J&J stated that it has provided data to the FDA and intends to send it to other agencies, the Globe Health Organization, and other vaccine advisory bodies worldwide to help them make decisions. The vaccination was 86 per cent successful in avoiding hospitalization in individuals under 60, but only 78 per cent effective in those 60 and beyond.

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