Q&A: All you need to know about boosters for J&J recipients

Q&A: All you need to know about boosters for J&J recipients

Members of the public queue for a booster vaccination at Croke Park, Dublin, last week. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Vaccine news changes quickly during a pandemic. For people who had the Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this year has been a roller-coaster.

How many people in Ireland received the Janssen shot?

In total 236,418 doses were given. These went to different groups at various times over the last few months as the advice changed including people aged 60 to 69 years of age and young people aged under-34.

When can a booster be given for the Janssen vaccine?

At least three months or 90 days after the single dose for this vaccine. It is shorter than for other vaccines which can be boosted at least five months after the first doses.

The booster for over-30s is with Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna; under-29s are being offered only the Pfizer shot as a booster. 

Both are mRNA type vaccines and a booster shot of either has been shown to increase efficacy to over 90% against severe illness from Covid-19.

Why do people need a booster with this 'Gamechanger' vaccine anyway?

In September Johnson & Johnson published research showing the single-shot was 81% effective in preventing hospitalisation with Covid-19. 

The study also found a booster given two to six months after the first shot significantly increased protection levels over time.

A separate study led by the Public Health Institute California compared waning immunity levels between Janssen, Pfizer, and Moderna vaccines. It found “declines were greatest for the Janssen vaccine”. 

So far the vaccines have been effective against variants of the virus, and it is expected this should remain so for the latest Omicron variant. 

It is disappointing for people as initially longer-lasting protection from a single-shot was hoped for, but it is not unusual for a vaccination process. 

Who are getting boosters this week?

The HSE is sending text messages to eligible under-70s with a date and appointment for the nearest mass vaccination centre.

This week, boosters are available for those aged 60 to 69 and vulnerable people, moving to over-50s hopefully next month. GPs continue to boost the over-70s.

Up to Sunday 699,600 booster shots were given.

What about walk-in clinics or pharmacies?

Some mass vaccination centres are offering walk-in booster shots but this varies. The HSE website lists the centres and information is updated frequently. 

Pharmacies are offering boosters but not as a walk-in system. A list of participating pharmacies is on the HSE website. 

Where in Munster are boosters available this week?

Walk-in boosters are available through UL Hospitals for people aged 60 to 69 at the Ennis Hospital, and Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh.

Boosters are also available at the same centres for people this age who received other vaccines first, and they should be five months (152 days) past their second dose.

City Hall in Cork is offering booster shots by appointment only. 

The Kerry Vaccination centre in Tralee is offering boosters also by appointment only.

The Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus is offering boosters by appointment only.

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