Study shows J&J’s booster shot reduces Omicron hospitalizations

Results indicated the J&J COVID-19 booster increased vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization to 85 percent.

Yesterday, Johnson & Johnson announced new preliminary results from the South African Phase 3b Sisonke study which showed that a booster shot of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 85 percent effectiveness against COVID-19-related hospitalization. The results of the study are encouraging, given Omicron's rapid spread has resulted in a global record number of daily cases, and evidence has emerged that the highly mutated strain can circumvent the protection generally provided by antibodies produced in response to vaccination. The real-world study from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) was based on a second dose of the J&J vaccine administered to 69,092 workers between 15 Nov and 20 Dec 2021 and found that protection levels rose in the weeks and months after a booster dose was given.

It prevented 85% of hospitalizations one to two months following the second shot, compared to 63% for those who had the booster during the previous two weeks. “We are therefore encouraged to see that boosting with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine regimen provides strong protection in a challenging real-world setting where there is an elevated risk of exposure – not just to COVID-19, but to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.” said Glenda Gray, the lead researcher and president of the SAMRC. Linda-Gail Bekker, the study's co-lead investigator also added positive feedback from the study by saying, "It reassures us that COVID-19 vaccines continue to be effective for the purpose they were designed, which is to protect people against severe disease and death.”