J&J booster 84% effective against hospitalization -S.African Omicron-era study
CAPE TOWN, Dec 30 (Reuters) - A booster dose of Johnson & Johnson Inc's JNJ single-dose COVID-19 vaccine was 84% effective at preventing hospitalization in South African healthcare workers who became infected as the Omicron variant spread, researchers said on Thursday.
The real-world study, which has not been peer-reviewed, was based on a second dose of the J&J vaccine administered to 69,092 healthcare workers between Nov. 15 and Dec. 20.
An initial course of inoculation has been shown to offer greatly reduced protection against Omicron, particularly against infection. However, several studies have suggested that a booster dose still provides significant protection against severe illness.
The new South African study of the J&J shot showed that the vaccine's effectiveness at preventing hospitalization rose from 63% shortly after a booster was administered to 84% 14 days later. Effectiveness reached 85% at one to two months post-boost.
Earlier this month, another South African-based study showed that a first round of inoculation with two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine had been less effective in South Africa at keeping people infected with the virus out of hospital since the Omicron variant emerged last month. nL1N2SZ0JC
The trial has been evaluating the efficacy of the J&J vaccine in the field after it was temporarily suspended due to concerns over extremely rare cases of blood clots. nL8N2MJ0OX
Scientists in South Africa first alerted the World Health Organization that they had detected Omicron in late November. The highly-mutated variant has spread quickly in other countries, and is fueling a new wave of infections.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by Richard Pullin and John Stonestreet)
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