Georgians waiting for J&J booster to be approved after advisory panel endorsement

ATLANTA — An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration endorsed a booster shot for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. Doctors are calling it another major step in the fight against COVID-19.

The company said the shot increased protection against symptoms to 94% and up to 100% against severe disease.

This booster has some key differences compared to the Pfizer and Moderna booster shots.

Stephanie Twitty Carmon got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last November as part of an area vaccine trial. Now she’s preparing for a booster shot if it is approved by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If they’re ready to give me a booster, I roll up my sleeve, ready to take it,” Twitty Carmon said. “Three days, my arm was very sore. And that is the only thing that I experienced.”

An FDA advisory panel on Friday recommended all adults who have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot two months after their first dose.

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Just over 270,000 Georgians are fully vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson shot.

“It’s important to have that second dose. And really, it should not be seen not as a booster, but as a second dose,” said Dr. Jose Cordero, public health professor at the University of Georgia.

He told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses different technology than the two other authorized vaccines and also has been slightly less effective against COVID-19 in studies.

“These vaccines do have a decrease or waning of immunity with time. And that was a little bit higher in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Cordero said.

Cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in Georgia, but many vaccinated Georgians are still being cautious.

“I prefer not to push the limits of the vaccine,” said Todd Griffith, who is fully vaccinated.

Griffith said he got the Johnson & Johnson shot and said booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccines may be here to stay.

“I mean, I already do a flu vaccine every year,” Griffith said.

This recommendation still needs the approval of the FDA and CDC. That decision is expected before the end of the month.

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