WASHINGTON — Coronavirus continues to keep us all on our toes, as new information seems to come out every day.
On Friday, Aug. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended an additional dose of the mRNA vaccines for immunocompromised people. Then, less than a week later on Aug. 18, officials announced they're prepping a plan for all adults to get one.
The boosters currently under consideration are for the mRNA vaccines, meaning third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines could begin as early as September 20.
There's a ton of discussion on social media wondering, where's Johnson and Johnson in all of this?
Right now, are Johnson and Johnson vaccines included in the White House's plan?
- Joint Statement from HHS Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots
- White House COVID-19 Response Team- August 18, 2021
In a joint statement, CDC, FDA, NIH and HHS officials discussed a plan to administer a third Pfizer and Moderna dose eight months after the second dose.
As for those who got the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, they say you’ll likely need another jab, but held off on making a decision.
“The J&J vaccine was not administered in the U.S. until March of 2021, and we expect more data on J&J in the coming weeks," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during White House press conference Wednesday. "With this data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots.”
On Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky tweeted, "Right now, the plan for boosters is specific to mRNA vaccine options and is still pending review and ACIP recommendation. We started using the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine 2 months after the mRNA vaccines, so the data for J&J will follow quickly."
On Friday, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci echoed that from the White House twitter account.
So the message is: scientists need more time to collect more data.
According to a Johnson & Johnson press release from July, preliminary data seems to show immunity does not dip significantly after that eight-month mark.
"The durability of humoral and cellular immune responses 8 months after Ad26.COV2.S vaccination with increased neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 variants over time, including after single-shot vaccination, further supports the use of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine to combat the global Covid-19 pandemic."
But, that study only included 10 people with the single J&J jab (and an additional 10 that got a double jab).
“We are engaging with the U.S. FDA, CDC and other health authorities and will share new data shortly regarding boosting with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine," a Janssen spokesperson said.
So we can Verify, as of publishing, the White House’s booster plan does not include Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients, though that could change in the future. The current plan is reliant on a CDC recommendation for an mRNA booster and emergency use authorization from the FDA.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients aren’t the only ones excluded from the current booster plan. Americans under the age of 18 are as well. That means even though the Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for those 12-years-old and older, right now the booster plan only includes those 18 and up.