EMA recommends Johnson & Johnson vaccine as booster

16.12.2021

For people over 18 years of age who have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, a second dose can be considered at least two months later, the EMA said. Data showed an increase in antibody titres in adults against coronavirus after a booster at least two months after vaccination. J&J’s vaccine, unlike the other COVID-19 vaccines, is licensed as requiring only one dose for basic immunisation. The approval studies suggested a sufficient protective effect after the single vaccination. So far, nothing is known about the risk of side effects from this booster vaccination.

J&J’s vaccine can also be given as a booster after vaccination with BioNTech/Pfizer’s or Moderna’s mRNA vaccines, according to the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). The data upon which the recommendation is based would be included in the updated product information for the vaccine, the EMA said. It is up to national health authorities to decide when booster vaccinations are necessary.

The Standing Commission on Vaccination’s (STIKO) recommendations on booster vaccinations have differed thus far. Accordingly, boosters should be carried out exclusively with the two mRNA vaccines, namely BioNTech/Pfizer’s Comirnaty at the full dose or Moderna’s Spikevax at the half dose. The STIKO recommends booster vaccination for all persons 18 years old and over who had their last dose at least six months ago.

The exception is people who have been vaccinated with J&J’s vaccine. For them, the STIKO recommends a booster with an mRNA vaccine after an interval of at least four weeks.

Unlike Astra-Zeneca’s Vaxzevria, J&J’s vaccine is still used in Germany. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, more than 100,000 doses were delivered to doctors’ practices and company doctors and another 100,000 to vaccination centres in calendar week 49 alone.