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People who received a J&J vaccine should get a booster after three months, NIAC recommends

The three-month interval is shorter than the five-month gap for the other vaccines.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

NIAC HAS RECOMMDNED that people who received a Janssen Covid-19 jab should receive a booster jab three months after their initial vaccination.

This interval is shorter than the recommended interval for the other three vaccines used as part of Ireland’s rollout. Boosters for people who received Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca should be delivered following an interval of a minimum of five months. 

Unlike those three vaccines, the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine was delivered in a single dose. A total of 236,313 people were vaccinated with the Janssen jab in Ireland, with many 18-34 year olds among that group

However, only people under 50 with an underlying condition have so far been approved for a booster jab. 

The advice related to the recommended Janssen interval is contained in Monday’s letter from CMO Dr. Tony Holohan to the Minister for Health which confirmed that boosters were to be extended to further cohorts.  

The letter outlines that the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC) has now approved boosters for people aged 50-59, people aged 16-59 years with an underlying condition and all residents in long-term healthcare facilities, irrespective of age. 

In the letter, the CMO says that NIAC has recommend that each of those groups receives a booster using either Pfizer or Moderna “given six months (minimum five-month interval) following completion of the primary vaccination schedule”. 

“Recipients of Covid-19 vaccine Janssen as their primary vaccine should receive an mRNA booster dose after an interval of three months,” NIAC’s advice states.

Regardless of which vaccine a person previously received, people receiving a booster jab are to be given one of the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer or Moderna. 

In the letter, NIAC states that, “on a precautionary basis”, the Moderna vaccine will not be recommended for people under 30, meaning they will instead be offered the Pfizer jab. 

The precaution is due to preliminary data indicating an increased frequency of the rare side effect myocarditis. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle and it has led Germany and France also recommending against its use in people aged under 30.

The booster programme is already underway in Ireland for people who are immunocompromised, healthcare workers and those over 60.

As of yesterday, a total of 481,519 booster jabs have been administered.

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Rónán Duffy

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