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Johnson & Johnson Says Second COVID Vaccine Dose Boosts Overall Efficacy To 94%

"Our large real-world evidence and Phase 3 studies confirm that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides strong and long-lasting protection against COVID-19-related hospitalizations," the drugmaker said.

Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report said Tuesday that a second short of its coronavirus vaccine provided a significant increase in protection against the disease in a large-scale U.S. trial.

Johnson & Johnson said a second shot, delivered around eight weeks after the first, increased its efficacy to around 94% against moderate to severe forms of the deadly virus, which has now taken the lives of more people than the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Efficacy of Johnson's single-dose regime was pegged at around 70%. 

A second shot of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine after two months boosted antibody levels fourfold, the company said, while extending that interval to six months produced a twelve-fold increase. 

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The data comes amid a push from President Joe Biden to administer booster shots to a broad swathe of the American public heading into the winter months in order to avoid another surge of infections of the still-accelerating Delta virus. Last week, a panel advising the Food & Drug Administration recommended boosters of the two-shot Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report vaccine to Americans over the age of 65, as well as to workers at high risk of infection from their day-to-day jobs, but decline to make a similar recommendation for the broader public.   

"Our large real-world evidence and Phase 3 studies confirm that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides strong and long-lasting protection against COVID-19-related hospitalizations," said Janssen Research & Development head Mathai Mammen. "Additionally, our Phase 3 trial data further confirm protection against COVID-19-related death." 

"Our single-shot vaccine generates strong immune responses and long-lasting immune memory," he added. "And, when a booster of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is given, the strength of protection against COVID-19 further increases."  

Johnson & Johnson shares were marked 1.35%% higher in early trading following release of the vaccine data to change hands at $165.88 each.