Johnson & Johnson Presents New Data to Support Booster for its COVID-19 Vaccine
Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine

Johnson & Johnson has joined other vaccine producers in advocating for a booster shot for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, which is being rolled out particularly in low-income African countries that had hoped to only vaccinate citizens once.

The company made the announcement on Wednesday, following the results of interim data from two Phase 1/2a studies in individuals previously vaccinated with its vaccine.

“New interim data from these studies demonstrate that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generated a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination,” according to a company statement.

“Significant increases in binding antibody responses were observed in participants between ages 18 and 55, and in those 65 years and older who received a lower booster dose,” it added, saying that it had submitted study summaries to medRxiv on 24 August.

This follows the publication in July of interim data from the trial in the New England Journal of Medicine that demonstrated neutralizing antibody responses generated by the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine were strong and stable eight months after immunization.

“We have established that a single shot of our COVID-19 vaccine generates strong and robust immune responses that are durable and persistent through eight months. With these new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses among study participants who had previously received our vaccine,” said Mathai Mammen, Global Head of Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson. 

“We look forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy for our Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, boosting eight months or longer after the primary single-dose vaccination,” he added.

J&J said that it was engaging with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other health authorities regarding boosting with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

The African Union has ordered 400 million doses of the J&J vaccine and the US government is also in the process of donating millions of doses of the vaccine to Africa, making the J&J vaccine the cornerstone of the continent’s rollout.

At World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on vaccines two weeks ago, J&J was the only vaccine manufacturer that was not advocating for boosters citing a lack of clinical data.




Combat the infodemic in health information and support health policy reporting from the global South. Our growing network of journalists in Africa, Asia, Geneva and New York connect the dots between regional realities and the big global debates, with evidence-based, open access news and analysis. To make a personal or organisational contribution click here on PayPal.