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Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply running out? Are booster shots coming soon?

This week Johnson & Johnson announced that a booster dose of its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides more 95% protection against COVID-19. The company said a second dose — given two or six months after the initial dose — increased protection against COVID-19 dramatically. 

The results of the study have not been vetted by other sources — including officials with the Food and Drug Administration. That would be needed for a booster shot to get emergency use authorization. However, as the Delta variant continues to cause issues in parts of the U.S. added protection is on the minds of public health officials. There are several important questions that remain now that the data has been released.

How effective is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

In the U.S. the two-dose regiment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was found to be 95% effective in preventing serious illness. Across the globe that rate was approximately 75%.

Experts say the difference is caused by variants in different parts of the world.

Dr. Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer spoke about the news. “While the single-dose vaccine remains strongly effective — a booster shot further increases protection against COVID-19 and is expected to extend the duration of that protection significantly,” he said.”

The initial shot provides up to eight months of protection, according to Johnson & Johnson officials. Real world data shows around 79% protection against the virus and 81% protection against hospitalization. 

Is there enough of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to go around?

As states across the U.S. began rolling out vaccine mandates — the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was viewed as a solid option. It offered good protection, and was the quickest way to achieve immunization. 

However, some officials across the country are also worried about how much of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available. In states like Washington, where vaccine mandates are set to take hold in a matter of days — the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not readily available at all locations.

The good news for the rest of the U.S. is that this isn’t expected to be a long-term problem. Johnson & Johnson continues to create the vaccine — and are producing more than ever before as it’s set to roll out in countries like India in October.



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