Here at PFund Foundation, we’ve been following the news regarding booster vaccines with a great deal of interest, as we’ve been posting about in prior weeks. As luck would have it, several of us received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot last spring, placing us among the approximately 15 million Americans who received the J&J shot. At the time, we followed the best available guidance from public health officials, which stated that any of the three available vaccines was a good choice and effective.
One of the challenges of the pandemic has been that doctors and scientists are dealing with a new and novel virus and are learning as they go. That being said, as we’ve written in the past, the guidance from federal agencies has often been confusing and messy and just frankly bad. We don’t blame so many of our fellow citizens for being frustrated and befuddled as the delta variant has burned through the region and yet information about who should get boosters and how to get them–and for those us with with J&J vax, the lack of guidance has been extra infuriating.
So, we were relieved to see that this week the CDC finally has approved booster vaccines for all people who have received J&J shots more than two months ago–and, perhaps most importantly, that J&J recipients will be allowed to receive mRNA booster shots (either Pfizer or Moderna). As reported by the Washington Post, the most recent studies show that “Any booster shot, even if it is the same as your first vaccine, will increase the number of antibodies that can fight the coronavirus. But, in some cases, mixing vaccines may offer better protection, experts say. Early data has shown that following up a first dose of Johnson & Johnson with an mRNA vaccine — Moderna or Pfizer — provided significantly higher levels of neutralizing antibodies.”
According to Dr. Leanna Wen, women under 50 may also want to consider an mRNA booster due to the risk of an extremely rare yet serious blood clotting disorder associated with the J&J vax.
As of this writing, we’re still at least a few days to possibly a few weeks away from the guidance from the CDC translating to an average person with a previous J&J vax being able to walk into a pharmacy and get a booster. But we’re encouraged to see that shortly we should be able to reinforce our immune systems with boosters as we head into the winter months, and we will be sharing the most up-to-date information on where to find booster shots in Minnesota in the coming weeks.