Image of gloved hand holding a vial of Johnson & Johnson's investigational COVID-19 vaccine

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration have voted to recommend expanding the emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to include a second, booster dose of the drug.

The panel of independent experts on Friday unanimously agreed that a full second dose of the vaccine should be offered to adults aged 18 years and older at least two months after receipt of the first dose. This differs from their recommendations for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which targeted relatively limited groups of recipients: those at risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, including older adults.

The J&J booster decision is based in part on a review of clinical trial data that showed a second shot at two months increased protection to 94% against moderate-to-severe and/or critical COVID-19. Other data looked at a six-month boost, which also increased protection, the drugmaker said.

“[W]hile a single shot offers strong and long-lasting protection against COVID-19, a booster given after the single-dose primary vaccination increases protection, in particular against symptomatic COVID-19,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer.

The news came a day after the panel voted to revise the federal EUA for Moderna’s mRNA vaccine to include a booster shot. A third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was authorized by federal health agencies in late September.

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Mixing COVID vaccines may improve outcomes, NIH scientists conclude People who are vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine may benefit by getting a booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna’s mRNA vaccines, a federal study suggests. The mixing of these drugs is not risky and may prompt a stronger antibody response when compared with boosting with the same drug, medical news outlet MedScape reported. Many residents in long-term care settings received a J&J shot after the federal government began providing it as part of the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care program in the spring of 2021.