Fauci: J&J vaccine likely should have been two doses

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBS 880) — Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said recipients of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine should “feel good” about getting its booster, noting that the vaccine likely should have been a two-dose shot in the first place.

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The White House chief medical advisor appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, where he welcomed the Food and Drug Administration’s unanimous decision Friday to approve the booster for adults.

“I think that they should feel good about it because what the advisors to the FDA felt, is that given the data that they saw, very likely, this should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with,” Fauci told ABC anchor Martha Raddatz.

“I think it’s very favorable for those who have received the J&J vaccine. I don’t see that as a problem at all,” he went on.

The FDA panel recommended all J&J recipients 18 years and older to get an additional shot as soon as two months after the first dose. The ruling departs from recommendations for  the Moderna and Pfizer boosters, which have only been advised for high-risk populations and residents at least 65 years old.

Fauci added that J&J recipients could be better off mixing and matching with a Moderna or Pfizer booster.

“That is true...that if you boost people who have originally received J&J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J&J,” Fauci said.

But Fauci added that data on mixing J&J with other boosters were constrained to the lab, while data on dual J&J shots is based on clinical results.

“However, you’re talking about laboratory data, which very often are reflective of what you would see clinically,” Fauci said. “But the data of boosting the J&J first dose with a J&J second dose is based on clinical data. So what’s going to happen is that the FDA is going to look at all those data, look at the comparison and make a determination of what they will authorize.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA will be flexible in allowing vaccinated Americans to mix boosters based on their health situations.