A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Friday that booster shots should be made available to people who have received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.
Unlike the authorizations for boosters for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, no restrictions were put on the J&J booster. The panel effectively said that the J&J vaccine, like the other vaccines, requires two doses to be effective.
After sometimes heated discussion, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 19 to 0 that anyone who received the J&J vaccine should be offered a second dose.
“I think this frankly was always a two-dose vaccine,” Paul Offit, a researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said at the meeting. “It’s hard to recommend this as one dose vaccine.”
But panelists were also critical of data suggesting that the vaccine be given as a booster dose at six months, saying the data came from only 17 patients. However, they said they would not want to deny boosters to anyone who had not yet received one.
“If the vaccine isn’t adequate, then it should be boosted in everybody,” said Eric Rubin editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. “I’m not sure why you’re asking for an indication that would apply to millions of patients with a data set that includes 17 patients.”