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CDC recommends booster shots for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients

In October, the CDC announced anyone 18 and over who got the J&J initially, qualifies for a booster shot two months after the first dose.

COLORADO, USA — As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) expands booster shot eligibility, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recipients still have questions.

In October, the CDC announced anyone 18 and over who got the J&J shot initially, qualifies for a booster shot two months after the first dose. 

"I had just had enough questions more because Johnson & Johnson wasn’t getting as many studies as some of the other vaccines," Arvada resident Ryan Fisher told 9NEWS. Fisher received a J&J vaccine back in April and went on to get a Moderna vaccine last month. 

"I had already decided to start wearing a mask at work when I wasn’t really required to just because there was enough uncertainty there so I was interested as soon as I heard it being discussed as a possibility to get a booster."

National Jewish Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Carrie Horn said the reason J&J recipients are being given the option is because of recently released data. 

"So with J&J specifically, where it was intended as a single dose at the beginning, the rates of severe illness, hospitalizations and death are a little bit higher in terms of the outcome compared to the two dose MRNA," Dr. Horn explained. 

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"So that’s why they’re looking at that second shot for the Johnson & Johnson to really take care of people and keep you from getting severely ill and keep you out of the hospital."

While Horn stressed anyone who received any COVID vaccine and is over the age of 65 or at high-risk for COVID should get a booster, healthy people who received a J&J shot initially, have more of a choice when it comes to a booster. 

"If you are otherwise healthy and young and got Johnson & Johnson, the data for the booster isn’t as strong," Horn said. 

"I would say I would certainly consider it just based on their overall rates of severe illness and hospitalization, but it’s a little more of a discussion with your doctor around if you should get a second dose or not."

Recipients of the Pfizer or Moderna have a set of parameters in order to get a booster. For those that got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, the CDC recommends a booster for the following: anyone 65 and older, anyone that has an underlying medical condition or anyone who works or lives in a high-risk setting. 

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