Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster gets FDA panel recommendation

Only a day after recommending an emergency use authorization for Moderna's booster vaccine dose, the FDA panel of advisers is back with a similar recommendation for Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. The committee unanimously voted in favor of granting J&J an emergency use authorization, though the terms under which the booster would be offered differs from the EUA granted to Pfizer.READ: FDA panel recommends Moderna booster shot EUA for certain people

Recently published data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the US, Johnson & Johnson's single-shot product is the least effective. The study found that while Pfizer's vaccine offers 88-percent protection against hospitalization and Moderna's vaccine offers 93-percent protection, J&J's vaccine came in at only 71-percent.

In light of that, it's no surprise that the FDA panel of independent advisers recommended that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster be given as early as two months after someone received their initial dose. The EUA, should it be granted, would cover adults ages 18 and older and have broader requirements compared to the Pfizer and Moderna boosters.

While the study found that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine offered less protection than the other two options, it still offers significant protection against the virus compared to those who haven't been vaccinated. Furthermore, the one-dose J&J shot was rolled out with the anticipation that recipients would eventually get a second dose of the shot.

The FDA hasn't yet issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Moderna and J&J's vaccine boosters. However, the unanimous recommendation from the independent advisory panel has paved the way for a decision, which is expected to be announced in the coming days. Moderna's booster shot, if it gets a EUA, will come with similar restrictions as Pfizer's booster, including limiting it only to people who are at high risk of severe infections.