J&J Vaccine, Touted as One-Shot Wonder, Works Better as Two

Well they didn’t call it just the “J” vaccine, after all

Male doctor holding syringe making covid 19 vaccination injection dose in shoulder of female patient...
One Perfect Shot

The main selling point of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is that it only requires one shot. But surprise! It actually works better as two, the company said on Tuesday in a press release.

According to one preprint study, a single dose of the J&J vaccine is about 78 to 79 percent effective against COVID infections, including in states with the delta variant. A second dose received two months after the first provides 94 percent protection against moderate to severe COVID in the U.S., making a two-dose regimen comparable to that of Moderna and Pfizer. The company also said that getting a second shot after two months increases antibody levels by four to six times compared to a single jab, and getting the booster shot after six months increases antibodies 12-fold.

This is all great news for J&J, which has been left out of current talks about booster shots and, frankly, seems a little like the forgotten stepchild of the vax trio. The Washington Post reports that 166 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, while only 15 million have received J&J shots. While the latter is still a medical marvel, is great for inoculating communities in rural and hard-to-reach areas, any vax is a good vax, etc., there is still an impression among some that J&J is on the lower rung of a two-tiered vaccine system. Perhaps this two-dose business will be just the shot of medically sound glitz and glam that the J&J vax could use, even if it totally undermines everything that has defined the underdog injection from the beginning. But that’s growth for you — it’s never too late to shoot your shot, or even better, your two shots.