Early-Stage Trials for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Booster Impress Mass. Doctors

Data from clinical trials for a second shot of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine showed antibody levels nine times higher than they were four weeks after a single dose

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A Johnson & Johnson booster shot showed a "promising immune response" against COVID-19, the company said Wednesday following early-stage clinical trials.

In fact, the data showed antibody levels were nine times higher than they were four weeks after the single dose.

"They were really quite impressive in terms of how fast and how high the antibodies go after a second shot of the J&J vaccine," said Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Barouch was a collaborator on the development of the J&J shot.

He says while antibody responses for the J&J vaccine remained stable at six months, mutations made exploring a booster shot necessary.

"What we've seen with the delta variant is there is a reduction in efficacy to all the vaccines," said Barouch.

Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital, agrees.

"That's how science works, we go with the best interpretation of the data when the data first come out, but realize that we may need to change our view of the data as additional information accumulates," said Kuritzkes.

Johnson & Johnson announced the results based on the two Phase 1/2 studies Wednesday.

"If it can keep mutating, then the people in science need to keep adapting to it until, eventually, we've beaten it out," said a Worcester man named Antonio.

People who spoke with NBC10 Boston who were already vaccinated said they'll be ready if and when a booster is recommended.

"I would consider it," said Charles Baker, who got the J&J vaccine.

"They say 'Go get a booster,' I'll got get a booster, cut and dry," said Brenda Avery of Worcester.

J&J said it is working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the next steps toward readying a possible booster shot.

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