“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine turns out not to be as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna. And the people who received (the J&J vaccine) earlier this year have therefore been a little less protected, even though they are still terribly well protected, ”said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Collins’ remarks come after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended that all adults who have received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine receive a second dose at least two months after their first dose.
The FDA will take the committee’s advice into account. Next, vaccine advisers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be invited to review it.
Experts advise people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be given a booster as soon as it becomes available as it will provide them with the best protection against Covid-19, especially as the more transmissible Delta variant continues to be the dominant strain in the United States. But they also reinforce the fact that the vaccine remains very effective against the worst consequences of the virus.
Meanwhile, various real-world studies suggest Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was between 50% and 68% effective, CDC’s Dr Amanda Cohn said on Friday.
“If the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna hadn’t been so totally and incredibly effective, at 95%, then Johnson & Johnson would look like a hero with their single dose, but I guess our standards are very high here by other vaccines. “Collins told CNN.
But a study published Thursday reported a sharp drop in the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection in August this year, especially for people who received the J&J vaccine.
The researchers found that among more than 600,000 veterans, J & J’s vaccine protection against infection fell from 88% in March to 3% in August. Meanwhile, Moderna’s vaccine protection against infection fell to 64% from 92%, and that of Pfizer fell to 50% from 91% during the same period.
“The performance of these critical illness vaccines, keeping people out of the hospital, is significantly better than that, and that’s the main thing we’re interested in,” said Dr William Schaffner, professor in the Division. of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
The FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee also supported emergency use authorization for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine booster injections after six months, but not for everyone. Moderna recipients over the age of 65 and adults with conditions that put them at risk for serious illness or who work or live in a location that puts them at higher risk of complications or serious illness may be eligible for the booster of 50 micrograms, which is half the size of the primary two-dose series.
And as to whether booster shots will be available to anyone already vaccinated, health officials are still working to determine.
“I think more data is coming in and… is being carefully reviewed and verified, so I think the expansion of recommendations may be in order. Not quite yet, ”Schaffner said.
Blacks account for a larger share of new vaccinations
While public health officials talk about boosters, 66 million Americans eligible for a vaccine still have not received their initial injections, while nearly 57% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Black and brown communities have been found to bear the brunt of the pandemic disproportionately for a variety of reasons, including inequalities in health care.
But there is good news in terms of the number of vaccinations of blacks. Recently, blacks – who make up 12.4% of the total U.S. population – have become a slightly larger share of new vaccinations than in the past, according to the CDC.
Since the start of vaccinations, blacks in the United States have made up 10.6% of all people who have received at least one dose. But in the past two weeks, they have accounted for 11.4% of new vaccinations.
The growth in vaccinations comes after two studies released by the CDC in April showed that racial and ethnic minority groups had higher hospitalization rates for Covid-19 and sought more emergency care for Covid-19 than those from Whites.
Another analysis released earlier this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed that the difference in Covid-19 cases and deaths between blacks, Hispanics and whites was narrowing.
KFF researchers found that while disparities are still present between different racial groups, the gap is improving for blacks and Hispanics, based on an analysis of data on the cases and deaths of the CDC last month. But Covid-19 infections remain high among Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Some law enforcement officials resist vaccine, but Covid-19 kills more than gunshots
Meanwhile, Covid-19 has become the leading cause of officer deaths, although law enforcement is among the first groups eligible to receive the vaccine in late 2020.
On Saturday, the total stood at 476 deaths linked to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, up from 94 by gunfire during the same period.
Yet law enforcement officers and their unions across the country have resisted vaccination warrants despite the resurgence of Covid-19 fueled by the Delta variant and the effectiveness of gunfire to prevent severe cases and deaths.
The reasons given for vaccine resistance among law enforcement officials range from misinformation to mistrust of vaccine science.
In Chicago, the police union chief asked officers not to follow the mayor’s order to submit proof of Covid-19 vaccination before Friday’s deadline.
John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of the Chicago Police, urged in a video message posted to YouTube that officers oppose the warrant.
“I’ll tell you right away. This is an inappropriate order. It’s illegal… Refuse this order, ”Catanzara said in the video.
The city filed a complaint alleging that the union “was encouraging a work stoppage or a strike”. A Cook County Circuit judge ruled Friday night that Catanzara should not make public statements encouraging members not to comply with the vaccination policy.
Catanzara “never committed, supported or encouraged a work stoppage,” according to a union statement Friday.
Lightfoot said the city would take the weekend to check with officers who did not comply with the warrant. She said officers should report to work until supervisors tell them they have been put on leave.
CNN’s Jen Christensen, Maggie Fox, Raja Razek, and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.