J&J efficacy declines after six months, is a booster shot required?

Growing concerns emerge that a second shot of J&J could be required to elicit an adequate antibody response.

According to experts, COVID-19 vaccine booster shots may be urgently required for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. On 22 September 2021, the CDC reported that the Pfizer vaccines protection against hospitalization from the COVID-19 virus dropped from 85% to 70% since March 2021 for people that are 65 and older, resulting in the recommendation that a Pfizer booster is required for that age group. While data shows a Pfizer vaccine booster is recommended for certain ages, leading experts are increasingly recommending that all ages being administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also receive a booster to avert severe disease. Monica Gandhi, infectious disease physician at the University of California stated, "that one shot is probably not sufficient to generate sufficient antibody responses for protection against delta.”

In South Africa, where 3.7 million residents were administered the J&J jab, it has been stressed by the South African Medical Association that healthcare workers should be the first to receive the shot should the booster be implemented. Data shows that six months after being administered the dose, antibody response lowers. People who received the booster six to eight months after the initial dose present a greater antibody response. Clinical trials initially indicated that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 85% effective against severe diseases and in January 2021, clinical data indicated that the vaccine was only 66.3% effective four weeks after the initial dose. The vaccine has been noted as effective against the evolving variants, however the efficacy is reduced as compared to the initial COVID-19 strain.