Johnson & Johnson COVID booster not recommended by health officials

The Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine booster shot is not recommended by the CDC. Doctors at UW Health say if you’re going to be around large groups of people for Christmas, you should get your booster shot before you go. For those who received the J&J vaccine, the CDC says, if at all possible, don't get J&J as a booster.

"If there was nothing but the J&J vaccine available, we would still say that it’s a great choice because it still protects against hospitalizations and complications and so on," said Dr. Nasia Safdar, UW Health.

Ahead of Christmas, many have had a COVID booster shot on their lists, but if you received the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, your booster choice isn’t as clear as it is for those who received Pfizer or Moderna.

"When you have other choices, and you have this risk of clots with the J&J, it’s all a matter of tradeoffs," said Safdar.

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The CDC recommends vaccines and boosters other than the J&J should be preferred, with concern over a rare blood clotting disorder.

"So I think the recommendation is just following what the data is showing," said Safdar.

UW Health doctors say the CDC recommendation actually works in the J&J recipient's favor, because in some cases, mixing vaccines (with a different company’s booster) has proven to increase your immune response.

"You have to go with what the data suggests you should do, and we are in somewhat of a happy position of having the choice of multiple different types of vaccines," said Safdar.

However, if you got the J&J vaccine and prefer to still get it as a booster Safdar says that’s okay.

"You know, I think that’s OK if they really choose to get it," said Safdar. "I think that if you have other options, you might want to consider those."

Medical experts are predicting a continued surge in coronavirus cases in the wake of the holiday season. All of those yet to be vaccinated and those still in need of a booster are encouraged to get them as soon as possible.

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