A recent study has found that the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is less effective in preventing infections from the Delta and Lambda variants of the COVID-19 virus.
Researchers conducted experiments in a laboratory using blood samples of infected individuals. Despite the worrisome findings, the results may not necessarily reflect the vaccine's real-world performance. However, they do suggest that the approximately 13 million people injected with the J&J vaccine may need a second dose of the vaccine, ideally from Pfizer or Moderna, the authors said.
J&J Vaccine Against Delta Variant
But the latest study contradicts several smaller analyses made by J&J earlier this month that found that a single dose of their vaccine was effective against the Delta variant even after eight months from the initial inoculation. The researchers' recent study has not yet been peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal, the New York Times reported.
Despite this, the results are consistent with what health experts are observing with AstraZeneca, which has a similar design to the J&J vaccine. They also noted how a single dose is only about 33% effective in fighting the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Nathaniel Landau, a virologist at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine and lead of the study, said the message the researchers wanted to express was not that people should avoid the J&J vaccine but that it would be boosted in the future by another shot or a different vaccine brand.
Johnson & Johnson's previous studies of their vaccine showed an 85% efficacy against the original strain of the infection and prevented severe symptoms, hospitalizations, and death. In response to Landau's study, the company said the results did not speak to the full nature of immune protection. The company noted that their vaccine was shown to have provided great protection even against the Delta variant, Fox News reported.
Protection Against the Coronavirus
Dr. Vin Gupta, an intensive care unit and lung doctor, also encouraged citizens who have received one shot of the J&J vaccine to get booster shots from Pfizer or Moderna. The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation professor said that a combination of AstraZeneca with either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines provided a great level of protection even against the Delta variant.
He said that people who have been given one shot of the J&J vaccine should be prioritized and should be given the opportunity, noting he has already encouraged his patients to do so.
During an interview, Landau recommended those who have gotten the J&J shot to consider getting a second dose of the same vaccine or a booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna.
However, the statements come amid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) comments regarding booster shots, saying that people who have been inoculated do not need a booster at this time.
In an interview, Gupta said that residents who have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine are not fully protected from transmitting the virus to other people compared to those who have received two injections of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, CNBC reported.