Johnson & Johnson COVID Shot Has Little Effect Against Omicron Variant, According to New Study

The report comes after the CDC Advisory Committee’s recommendation on Thursday that adults receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines instead of Johnson & Johnson

A healthcare Worker hands in surgical gloves pulling COVID-19 vaccine liquid from vial to vaccinate a patient
Vaccine. Photo: Getty

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has little effect against the omicron variant according to a newly released study.

The report, which has not been peer reviewed yet, showed that the Johnson & Johnson shot — as well as China's Sinopharm and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines ­— had no neutralizing activity against the new variant.

While the vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZenca were better at fighting the omicron variant, they still showed a decrease in effectiveness compared to the original COVID strain, according to the study which was conducted by Humabs Biomed SA, a unit of Vir Biotechnology, and the University of Washington.

The study also showed that people who were previously infected by COVID-19 had a less robust immune response to omicron than to other variants.

The release of the study comes after the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that they recommend adults select either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson shot to get vaccinated against COVID.

A child getting a COVID-19 vaccine dose. Getty

The advisory, which is not yet a formal decision by the CDC, comes after the agency confirmed 54 cases of people developing blood clots showing low platelet levels — a rare condition known as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS).

Nine TTS deaths were reported following the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. TTS deaths were highest among females 30–39 years of age and 40–49 years of age.

"The TTS case reporting rates following Janssen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccines is higher than previous estimates in men as well as women in a wider age range," chair of the CDC's vaccine and safety subgroup, Dr. Keipp Talbot, said at a CDC Vaccine Advisory Panel Thursday per CNBC.

"We've been struck on reviewing these cases by how rapidly patient status deteriorates and results in death," Dr. Isaac See, who is on the CDC's vaccine safety team, also told the panel.

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More than 17 million people in the United States have received the J&J vaccine, according to the CDC, while just over 285 million Americans have received the Pfizer vaccine and 187 million people got the Moderna vaccine.

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