Virginia health leaders encouraged by J&J booster shot study results

A Richmond woman and health official react to the study of Johnson & Johnson's booster shot.
A Richmond woman and health official react to the study of Johnson & Johnson's booster shot.(Source; NBC12 | NBC12)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 4:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - State health leaders feel encouraged with the latest results of Johnson & Johnson’s booster shot study, which shows an increase in protection against COVID-19.

The study shows this protection against moderate to severe forms of the virus increases to 94 percent when the booster shot is given two months after their first shot. Antibody levels also rose four to six times higher than researchers observed after the single shot.

Their findings also found the booster shot provided a 12-fold increase in antibodies when administered six months after the first shot.

This could provide an extra layer of protection for the more than 300,000 people in Virginia who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including Angela Agee.

Agee and her husband received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in April. Agee says she’s excited and happy to see these results for the booster shots.

“It gives me, even more, hope to stay protected,” Agee said. “I want to stay as protected as possible, and I want to ensure that I protect the people around me, my elderly parents that are close by, my 96-year-old grandmother, my friends and family.”

Johnson and Johnson also said the safety profile of the vaccine remained consistent and was generally well-tolerated as a booster.

Christy Gray, director of the division of immunization at the Virginia Department of Health, says it’s encouraging to see the vaccine provide protection against COVID-19.

“It’s always encouraging to see that J&J continues to provide strong and long-lasting protection against severe illness, which is hospitalization and death due to COVID-19,” Gray said.

Gray said state officials are keeping a close eye on the ongoing booster shot discussions. For now, she encourages people to hang tight until more guidance comes out from federal health officials.

“As that information and the data is supplied to the FDA and CDC, we’ll be able to see if additional doses are recommended or if it’s not necessary at this time,” Gray said.

As Virginia health officials wait for a green light to administer these booster shots, Agee says she will be ready to roll up her sleeve when the time comes.

“I will certainly be signing up and raising my hand and ready to go when they’re ready to give it to me,” she said.

Johnson & Johnson says they have provided available data to the FDA and plans to submit their findings to other regulators including the World Health Organization and National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups.

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