Does the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant mean people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine need a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot to properly protect themselves from the virus?
HuffPo spoke to experts and reports -- so far -- all of the vaccines, including the Johnson & Johnson shot, have been effective against the variants, including the Delta.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi tells HuffPo there is currently no data indicating the need to boost the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and there is no strong evidence of breakthrough infections with people who got the J&J shot, compared to those who got an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). "That, to me, is a proof positive that you do not need an mRNA vaccine after," she says.
The infectious disease expert also notes antibody levels will "wane" after being infected or getting vaccinated and this is something to be expected. HuffPo further explains that fighting the virus is not just about antibodies.
"In addition to antibodies, we have our cell-mediated immune response, which includes T-cells and memory B cells. These virus fighters hang out in our lymph nodes and germinal centers and are activated upon exposure to a pathogen. While our antibodies only recognize the spike protein on the coronavirus, T-cells recognize many different parts of the coronavirus ― so even if the virus mutates, we’ll still be well-protected against severe disease," the website explains.
Additionally, it is important to note all the vaccines (Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna) are not significantly different in how they protect us, and all of them "ultimately go after the spike protein and make the same antibodies and T-cells," the website notes. Also, all of the 4 currently available vaccines have prevented hospitalizations, severe disease, and death, which is the ultimate goal.
HuffPo's experts say whether a booster is needed will continue to be studied, but for the time being, the vaccines appear to be highly effective without an additional shot.