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Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients are left in the dark on booster shots. They deserve better.

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Federal health officials made an important decision last week to recommend that immunocompromised Americans receive an additional dose of the covid-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, they neglected to include a group that is increasingly left behind when it comes to coronavirus guidance: recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used two arguments to explain why their recommendation did not apply to J&J recipients. First, they cited lack of data. Second, they said the impact was limited because few of the immunocompromised got the J&J.

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These are the same arguments being used to justify why the 13 million people inoculated with the single-dose J&J vaccine aren’t being advised to receive a booster. But this is increasingly unacceptable as infections surge and evidence accumulates that the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are more effective against covid-19 than adenovirus vector vaccines (J&J and AstraZeneca). At the very least, I believe federal health officials should allow J&J recipients to receive one dose of an mRNA booster, regardless of whether they are immunocompromised.


© Washington Post

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