A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has voted to recommend authorizing a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The decision will help end a sense of limbo for 15 million Americans who received the first dose but were worried whether it was enough to protect them, particularly after the rise of the Delta variant.
The agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously on Friday, 19-0, to recommend authorization of the second dose as early as two months after the primary shot for anyone aged 18 and older, reports Xinhua news agency.
The same committee on Thursday recommended Moderna booster shots to people aged 65 and older and other high-risk adults, in line with guidelines for Pfizer’s vaccine.
It allowed Moderna to supply third doses of its vaccine to people who had their second doses at least six months ago and are over 65, have underlying health conditions, or whose jobs put them at high risk of contracting severe Covid-19.
All 19 voting members voted in favour.
The recommendation may be tweaked further by the FDA and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and an emergency use authorization should follow within days to weeks.
Several of the independent experts suggested that though J&J had applied to authorize a booster, a second J&J vaccine should in fact be regarded as an “additional” dose needed to achieve full vaccination.
Earlier this month, the US regulators had authorized Covid booster shots of Pfizer and BioNTech’s. However, unlike Pfizer, Moderna has been recommended for only a half-dose booster to bolster protection against the virus.
Just under 188 million people in the US have now been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Around 9 million of those have also received booster doses, data shows. More people are now getting booster doses than receiving their first shots, it added.
(With IANS inputs)