“In June, I started worrying about the spread of this Delta variant and had travel plans,” said Gallagher, clinical professor at Temple University School of Pharmacy.
So Gallagher decided to get a dose of a different mRNA vaccine, even though it was already considered fully protected with its single dose of the J&J vaccine.
Once it was learned that he had received an extra dose, he began to hear many others doing the same.
“My phone rang for a week,” Gallagher said.
At this time, it is not recommended to try to boost your immune system with an extra dose of Covid-19 vaccine after an injection of J&J. Vaccine makers are considering whether this needs to change.
Gallagher isn’t the only scientist getting ahead of the directions.
More than 13.2 million people in the United States have received the single-dose J&J vaccine, according to the CDC. The vaccine is effective and protects well against hospitalization and death, according to studies.
In a statement, Johnson and Johnson said: “We believe the Johnson & Johnson single-injection COVID-19 vaccine will continue to provide long-lasting protection, and at this time, there is no evidence to suggest the need. give a booster dose. ”
Health experts CNN spoke to said people’s interest in another dose appeared to be intensifying as the Delta variant began to spread and after research from New York University revealed Found evidence that people who received the J&J vaccine might benefit from an extra dose.
This study is a pre-publication, which means it has not been subject to careful peer review. It was performed on the blood of vaccinated volunteers, so it did not reflect real world conditions, but it did show that at least some of the new emerging variants, including the Delta variant, may escape the protection offered by a single dose of the vaccine.
This study contradicted an earlier finding by J&J published in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that a single dose of his vaccine protected well against the Delta variant, with protection for at least eight months.
This protection, said Dr John Zaia, director of the Center for Gene Therapy in City of Hope, Calif., Is demonstrated by current hospitalization data. He does not recommend an extra dose.
“We have yet to see anyone say that people hospitalized in the United States are the ones who received the J&J vaccine. I think that tells us a lot, ”Zaia said.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, also does not recommend an extra dose. He said the data does not support the need for it.
“There are a lot of people who like to beat the J&J vaccine; however, when you look at what we want in a vaccine, we want it to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death, and I see no indication that the J&J vaccine is failing in the main tasks it is designed for. ”Said Adalja.
Dr Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center in Philadelphia, agrees and said J&J has always been an “excellent” vaccine.
“I don’t know of any data to suggest the need for a booster dose,” Offit said. “I understand that it has become one thing, but vaccines still induce excellent protection against critical illnesses caused by the Delta variant. ”
Dr William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University does not make a recommendation, but he sees growing interest.
“People talk about it more openly, not just among themselves,” Schaffner said. “There are a tremendous number of people out there, and I think it’s a substantial number, the more I hear about, who work the system. “
People vaccinated with the J&J vaccine should operate the system because it is against official directions from a pharmacy or immunization clinic to give an extra dose. That could change once a vaccine is cleared by the FDA. Then, a doctor could prescribe it off-label. But for now, people are finding ways to get around the advice.
Schaffner said he heard that some people were out of state to get an extra dose because there is no national vaccine registry. He also heard that others had found pharmacies and vaccination sites that didn’t ask many questions.
“They are just happy that you are coming for the vaccine,” Schaffner said.
Schaffner said there was no real data to show that an extra dose would be harmful, so if patients ask for an extra dose, doctors may include it in their calculations when advising them. patients.
“The question, not only in the mind of the patient, but also in the mind of doctors, is, ‘Well, what if it’s not going to hurt? What harm could that do? ‘ Schaffner said. The doctor may also think, “I can’t tell you how much benefit you will get, but maybe it will make us both feel better. ”