Pfizer or Moderna boosters higher for J&J Covid vaccine recipients, suggests NIH examine
Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine recipients are better off getting a booster shot from Pfizer or Moderna, a highly anticipated U.S. study suggested on Wednesday.
The National Institutes of Health’s study of “Mixing and Matching” Covid Vaccines included more than 450 adults who had received one of the three regimens currently available in the US: J & J’s, Moderna’s, or Pfizer’s. The study, which examines whether the use of different boosters has advantages or disadvantages, has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The volunteers were divided into groups and received an additional shot of their original vaccine or a booster shot from another company. The antibody levels were measured two weeks and four weeks after administration of the boosters.
All of the combinations raised antibody levels, although the Pfizer and Moderna boosters seemed to work best. According to the study, people who received a booster dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine were more likely to have a higher increase in their antibody responses than those who received an additional dose of J&J.
The study showed that recipients of the original Moderna or Pfizer vaccines could easily swap the third dose; the results were about the same. Volunteers who originally received the J&J vaccine appear to have had a better immune response when they received a booster dose from Pfizer or Moderna.
There were no serious side effects associated with the extra injections and no new symptoms appeared after participants received the booster injections, the researchers said. Two participants vomited after freshening up; one had received Moderna and the other J&J. Two other people who received a J&J booster reported fatigue or insomnia.
“These data suggest that when a vaccine is approved or approved as a booster, regardless of the primary Covid-19 vaccination schedule, an immune response is generated,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Heterologous prime boost strategies can provide immunological benefits to optimize the breadth and longevity of the protection afforded by currently available vaccines.”
J & J’s one-dose vaccine uses an adenovirus, while Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines use mRNA technology. The thought of scientists is that by “mixing and matching” vaccines using different platforms, people can potentially get broader protection from the coronavirus and its new variants.
The study is likely to fuel a debate over whether to give extra doses to the millions of Americans who have received J & J’s vaccines.
Unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s two-shot mRNA vaccines, J&J hoped to offer a one-shot solution that would protect the public sufficiently to end the coronavirus pandemic. But its protection, which is 72% in the US, has been viewed by some as inferior to the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, both of which touted an efficacy rate of over 90%.
A second dose of J & J’s Shot performs similarly to the mRNA vaccines and increases protection against symptomatic infection to 94% when given two months after the first dose in the US, according to company data released Sept. 21.
In a separate document released Wednesday, the FDA said the data provided by J&J suggests that recipients could benefit from an additional dose given two months after the first injection.
Regulators wrote that the efficacy estimates of J & J’s single-shot vaccine in studies and real-world studies are “consistently lower than the highest efficacy estimates for the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.”
The results, released on Wednesday, are expected to be presented at an important meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee on Friday.
Last month, U.S. regulators approved a booster of the Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for a wide variety of Americans, including the elderly, adults with pre-existing conditions, and those who work in high-risk environments such as health and healthcare facilities or live grocery workers .