I have a J&J Vaccine. Should I get a Booster Shot like Delta Spreads?

Welcome to COVID Questions, TIME’s advice column. Let’s try to make the pandemic a little easier, with expert-backed answers to your toughest dilemmas related to coronavirus. While we can’t and don’t offer medical advice – these questions should go to your doctor – hopefully this column will help you resolve this stressful and confusing time. Do you have a question? Write to covidquestions

Today, NC in Washington, DC, asks:

I had a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With the Delta variant spreading, I’ve heard that some people in my position also receive Pfizer or Moderna shots for extra protection. Is that something I should do too? And if refresh shots are recommended later, should I switch to Pfizer or Moderna?

It is true that vaccines made with mRNA-ones Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern-Offers stronger protection against early COVID-19 strains than The stroke was based on the Janssen / Johnson & Johnson adenovirus. That’s why some people who have had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are interested in doubling it, especially as the most transmissible. Delta variant continues to spread in the United States

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official position is that COVID-19 shots are not interchangeable. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is I do notsure to mix them; there is only so much data available to answer the demand.

Some prominent researchers have decided to move forward and get mRNA boosters over Johnson & Johnson strikes, even without an official blessing from the CDC-e despite the fact that some pharmacies it will not give additional blows to people who are already vaccinated.

Dr. Hana Mohammed El Sahly, an expert in virology and molecular microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, is not one of these researchers – and says she will not recommend that course of action. “Until we have better data, it’s probably not wise to go for it [additional] vaccine unless it was part of a clinical trial, ”she says.

That data is on the way. Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) they study what happens when people receive a booster shot of a vaccine other than their original shot. That study includes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

European research teams have also published results suggesting which is effective to mix a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with a dose of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca-Oxford University — which, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is based on adenovirus. It is not a direct parallel, but supports the general concept of mixing and setting doses. Countries including Germany, Canada and the Dominican Republic have already tried such systems, but none of them mix Johnson & Johnson blows with other vaccines..

Security aside, a second shot may not even be necessary. A new one study published in Nature found that people who were only partially vaccinated (i.e., who received only one shot from a two-dose regimen) were susceptible to the Delta variant, but that fully vaccinated individuals were much better protected. The study did not analyze Johnson & Johnson’s stroke, but people who take the vaccine at one dose are considered completely vaccinated by the CDC.

Johnson & Johnson says his vaccine-like the others authorized in the United States – works well against the Delta variant, although that conclusion came from a very small study. Even with the Delta variant spreading, El Sahly notes, by a large majority of people who end up in hospital or die from COVID-19 are not vaccinated, which suggests that the shots continue to work as well as authorized.

If you’re worried, El Sahly says your best bet, at least for now, is to return to the precautions as masked and social distancing — not receiving a second type of vaccine.

That advice may change along the way. Experts have said that it is possible that all will need a reinforcement shot at least a year after vaccination, depending on how long they provide protection against the virus. By the time health officials know if boosters are needed, says El Sahly, the researchers hope to have collected enough data to make a recommendation on whether you should stay with Johnson & Johnson or switch to Pfizer-BioNTech or Modern.

And if you’re absolutely desperate to get double vaccination in the meantime, the NIH study on the mix-and-match dosage is writing now. “You can volunteer here and help us generate this data,” says El Sahly.

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