“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine turns out not to be quite as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna. And people who got (the J&J vaccine) way back at the beginning of this year therefore have been somewhat less protected, although they’re still awfully well protected,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
The FDA will consider the committee’s advice. Then the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine advisers will be asked to consider it.
Johnson & Johnson has indicated its vaccine immunity has waned — but not by much. Still, the company said studies show a booster dose increases protection equivalent to the 94% efficacy shown by the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines soon after they were first given in clinical trials last year.
Meanwhile, various real-world studies suggest that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was anywhere between 50% and 68% effective, Dr. Amanda Cohn with the CDC said Friday.
“If the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna had not been so utterly, amazingly effective, 95%, then Johnson & Johnson would look like a hero with their one dose, but I guess our standards are being set awfully high here by the other vaccines,” Collins told CNN.
Researchers found that among more than 600,000 veterans, J&J’s vaccine’s protection against infection fell from 88% in March to 3% in August. Meanwhile, Moderna’s vaccine protection against infection fell to 64% from 92%, and Pfizer’s declined to 50% from 91% during that same time period.
“The performance of these vaccines against severe disease, keeping people out of the hospital, is distinctly better than that, and that’s the main thing we’re interested in,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
And as for whether booster shots will become available for everyone who’s already vaccinated, health officials are still working to determine that.
“I think as more data come in and … are carefully reviewed and vetted, then I think the expansion of the recommendations may be in order. Not quite yet,” Schaffner said.
Black people represent a larger share of new vaccinations
Black and brown communities have proven to be disproportionally bearing the brunt of the pandemic for various reasons, including health care inequities.
But there’s some good news in terms of Black people’s vaccination numbers. Recently, Black people — who comprise 12.4% of the total US population — have come to represent a slightly larger share of new vaccinations than in the past, according to the CDC.
Since vaccinations began, Black people in the US have accounted for 10.6% of all people with at least one dose. But in the past two weeks, they have accounted for 11.4% of new vaccinations.
Another analysis published earlier this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed the difference in Covid-19 cases and deaths between Black, Hispanic and White people is narrowing.
KFF researchers found that while disparities are still present across different racial groups, the gap is improving for Black and Hispanic people, based on an analysis of case and death data from CDC last month. But Covid-19 infections remain high in Native American and Alaska Native people.
Some in law enforcement are resisting vaccine, but Covid-19 is killing more of them than gunfire
As of Saturday, the total stood at 476 Covid-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic, compared to 94 from gunfire in the same period.
Reasons cited for the vaccine resistance among law enforcement officers range from disinformation to distrust in the science of the vaccines.
In Chicago, the head of the police union asked officers not to follow the mayor’s order to submit Covid-19 vaccination proof by the Friday deadline.
John Catanzara, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president, urged, in a video message posted on YouTube, for officers to stand their ground against the mandate.
“I am telling you right now. It is an improper order. It is illegal … Refuse that order,” Catanzara said in the video.
The city filed a complaint alleging the union was “encouraging a work stoppage or strike.” A Cook County Circuit judge ruled Friday night that Catanzara should not make public statements encouraging members to not comply with the vaccination policy.
Catanzara “has never engaged in, supported, or encouraged a work stoppage,” according to a union statement on Friday.
Lightfoot said the city would take the weekend to check with officers who haven’t complied with the mandate. She said officers should report for duty until they’re told by supervisors that they’ve been placed on leave.
CNN’s Jen Christensen, Maggie Fox, Raja Razek and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.