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New Johnson & Johnson data shows second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19 – but one dose is still strong against delta variant

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On Sept 22, 2021, Johnson & Johnson released data that answers two questions many people have likely been wondering about its vaccine: How good is it against the delta variant, and do I need a booster? Maureen Ferran, a virologist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has been keeping tabs on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She breaks down the new data and explains what it all means.

Early clinical trial data released in January 2021 showed that four weeks after the first dose, the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine was 66.3% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. The initial studies also showed that it was 85% effective at preventing severe or critical disease.

But the original clinical trials and most subsequent studies were done before the delta variant became responsible for almost all of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Early studies suggest that although COVID-19 vaccines are still effective against this variant, in general their efficacy is lower compared to protection against the original strain.

On Sept. 21, 2021, Johnson and Johnson announced the results of a large, real-world Phase 3 clinical trail of its COVID-19 vaccine. This study collected data from March 1, 2020, through July 31, 2021, and found that the effectiveness of the vaccine did not diminish over the duration of the study, even after the delta variant became dominant in the U.S. The one-dose vaccine was 79% protective against COVID-19 infections and 81% protective for COVID-19-related........

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