San Francisco will let people who got the J&J vaccine get a supplemental mRNA vaccine dose


People vaccinated with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine will be able to receive a supplemental mRNA vaccine dose in San Francisco, the city’s health department said.

San Francisco Department of Public Health officials are making an “accommodation” for those who have consulted with a physician, they said Tuesday. It is not a recommendation or policy change, the officials said.

“We are not recommending. We are accommodating requests,” said Dr. Naveena Bobba, deputy director of health for the department, during a news briefing. “We have gotten a few requests based on patients talking to their physicians, and that’s why we are allowing for the accommodation.”

The US Food and Drug Administration doesn’t recommend “taking things into your own hands” regarding Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, director of the agency’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Dr. Peter Marks, said Tuesday.

“You can see all from looking at the news that there are people and the jurisdictions that are actually taking things into their own hands,” Marks said during a discussion hosted by the Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.

“FDA does not recommend taking things into your own hands. It’s actually not something you’re supposed to do under emergency use authorization,” he said, referring to the status of three coronavirus vaccines in use in the United States.

The FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control currently have no recommendation for Covid-19 vaccine booster shots. “At the present time … the data in the United States does not indicate that that’s necessary,” National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN on Tuesday.

Still, supplement doses will be available at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The city’s health department aligns with the CDC in not currently recommending a booster shot for anyone, including J&J vaccine recipients, Bobba said.

With the Delta coronavirus variant driving a surge in Covid-19 cases, there is conflicting information about the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine against the strain. Some people are hoping to boost their immunity by supplementing their J&J shot with an mRNA vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna.

Johnson & Johnson said in early July that data shows its vaccine provides immunity that lasts at least eight months, and it appears to provide adequate protection against the worrying Delta variant.

A test-tube study later that month, which has not been peer reviewed, suggested that people who got the single-dose vaccine might benefit from a booster dose. The study found that being fully vaccinated with one of the mRNA vaccines provides people with a strong and broad response.

Supplemental vaccinations will be recorded the same way all Covid-19 vaccinations are, Bobba said.

“These get entered into the system, just like other doses have as well, and the patients that have gotten them will be followed, just as others (who) have gotten the vaccines throughout the country have continued to be followed,” Bobba said.

Each vaccine site in the city will choose how to proceed with the accommodation, but “the expectation is that they have had a discussion with a health care provider when they come in,” Bobba said.

The mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna require two doses for full immunization.

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