LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Doctors say people who are vaccinated and boosted have the greatest protection from the Omicron variant. Many people have questions about the shots, and THV11 is working to answer them.
A viewer asked us: "I had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for my first shot, then was told that I had to get a second shot and got the Pfizer. So, I'm wondering if I have to have a third shot, or am I good to go?
We took the question to Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, chief medical officer for the Arkansas Department of Health. She said people who get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get boosted with a Pfizer or Moderna shot two months after their initial dose.
Right now, there's just a recommendation for a single booster dose after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Dillaha said. “Over time, we may learn that additional ones would be recommended, and that may be the same with the Pfizer Moderna vaccines. We'll have to wait and see the duration of immunity and also what other variants may arise and begin to circulate.”
Once someone has received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they should get a third dose five months later to be considered boosted.
“We're finding with the Omicron variant that it takes that booster dose for people to develop neutralizing antibodies, enough immunity to keep from getting infected or to prevent them from staying at a hospital if they do get infected,” Dillaha said.
People who are fully vaccinated and boosted make up about two percent of Arkansas’ active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Dillaha said.
The CDC recommends Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines over the J&J/Janssen vaccine for primary and booster vaccination due to a risk of serious side effects.
As of January 13, 2022, more than 17.8 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States. The CDC and FDA identified 57 confirmed reports of people who got that vaccine and later developed thrombocytopenia syndrome, which causes blood clots in large blood vessels and low platelets.
"Some people cannot get the Pfizer or Maderna vaccine," Dillaha said. "Often, that's due to a severe allergy to the vaccine or one of its components. So, those people can get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine because right now getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is much safer than getting COVID-19."
Click here to visit the Arkansas Department of Health vaccination website.