Gary Collis of Bunker Hill, West Virginia, receives his boost dose at a coronavirus (COVID-19) community vaccination event as the West Virginia vaccination rate is among the highest in the world on February 25, 2021 in Martinsburg.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine can be used as a replacement for a second shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for those who are allergic to a company’s first round of vaccine, said a scientist with the Centers for Control and Prevention of diseases on Monday.
Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines both use mRNA technology and require two shots to achieve full protection. Patients allergic to both should wait at least 28 days before receiving the J&J single-dose vaccine, said Jessica MacNeil, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“In exceptional situations in which the first dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine has been received but the patient is unable to complete the series with the same or a different mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, for example due to a contraindication, a single dose Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine can be administered at a minimum interval of 28 days from the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose, “she said Monday at an emergency meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Janssen makes vaccines and other medicines for J&J.
The CDC currently recommends that people with a severe allergic reaction to one of the shots avoid the second shot. J & J’s one-shot vaccine, which received emergency approval on Saturday, could offer these patients yet another opportunity to maximize protection against Covid-19.
According to Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Bureau.
This equates to a rate of approximately 4.7 cases per million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine administered and 2.5 per million of the Moderna shot. Most reactions occur shortly after the first shot, Shimabukuro said.
MacNeil of the CDC noted that the vaccines are “non-interchangeable” and that the safety and efficacy of a single dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and any vaccine from J&J have not been tested. She added that people getting J&Js should do so “under the supervision of a health care provider”.
Some members of the committee, the panel of experts that advise the CDC on vaccination, questioned the CDC’s reasoning. Dr. Marci Drees, a committee liaison and chief infection prevention officer at ChristianaCare in Delaware, noted that some of the ingredients in J & J’s vaccine are similar to those in the Moderna and Pfizer shots.
In response, MacNeil said that responding to any of the mRNA vaccines would require “precautionary measures” in receiving the J&J vaccine, but it could be done safely if the patient is monitored for at least 30 minutes after receiving the shot.
Fewer cases of allergic reactions to the J&J vaccine have been reported than Moderna and Pfizer, but it has not yet been introduced in the wider population. In clinical trials last week, J&J admitted that there were two cases of anaphylaxis among study participants.