Coronavirus: Johnson & Johnson says booster 94% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in US

Johnson & Johnson says new data shows a booster shot of its coronavirus vaccine was 94% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in the United States.

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In a news release early Tuesday, the drugmaker shared data from a Phase 3 study, which found that a second dose given 56 days after the first shot provided 94% protection against symptomatic illness in the U.S., 75% protection against symptomatic illness globally and 100% protection against severe or critical COVID-19.

Antibody levels following a second dose administered two months after the first “rose to four to six times higher than observed after the single shot,” the company said. Meanwhile, a booster administered six months after the first shot prompted a nine-fold increase in antibody levels one week after the second dose, and a 12-fold increase four weeks after the second shot, the release said.

In another study, researchers also found that a single dose of the vaccine “showed strong and long-lasting protection in the real world,” according to the release. Citing data collected from March to late July in the U.S., the company said the single-shot vaccine demonstrated 79% efficacy at preventing COVID-19-related infections and 81% efficacy at preventing hospitalizations.

“There was no evidence of reduced effectiveness over the study duration, including when the delta variant became dominant in the U.S. Sequencing data were not available for analysis,” the release said of the study, which included 390,000 vaccinated people and 1.52 million unvaccinated people.

The studies have not yet been peer-reviewed, according to The Associated Press.

J&J said it has provided available data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and plans to submit the information to regulators in other countries, as well as the World Health Organization and National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups around the world “to inform decision-making on local vaccine administration strategies.” Earlier this year, U.S. regulators authorized the company’s single-dose vaccine for emergency use in people ages 18 and up.

The news comes days after a government advisory panel failed to approve a plan to allow anyone fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine to get a third shot, instead recommending a booster only for those over 65 or at an increased risk of severe disease.

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