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VERIFY: Yes, there is a J&J booster, but it's not preferred over other brands

Those getting Johnson & Johnson as both their initial COVID-19 shot and booster may even need to follow up with another booster in a different brand.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — By now, people are familiar with the three COVID-19 vaccine brands available in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. As the pandemic continued, all three companies developed their own booster shots and asked federal regulators to authorize those extra doses.

Most recently, Pfizer announced plans to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster for healthy 5- to 11-year-olds.

THE QUESTION

WCNC Charlotte viewer Ron S. wanted to know the latest booster options, writing to the VERIFY team:

"Is it true that there is no J&J booster shot available for Covid-19?"

OUR SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

The answer to Ron's question is no. There is a Johnson & Johnson booster shot for COVID-19.

But there is a likely reason Ron has not heard much about it: Doctors do not prefer it over other brands for protection purposes.

WHAT WE FOUND

"The reason we want you to mix and match -- it gives you a wider variation of protection," Piramzadian said.

CDC guidelines state that, regardless of the brand of a person's first shot, the best booster will be an mRNA vaccine. In other words, Pfizer and Moderna are the recommended booster brands.

The guidelines also state that most people who got Johnson & Johnson as both vaccine and booster should probably follow up with a Pfizer or Moderna booster four months later. 

The guidance stems from a CDC study that found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and booster combination led to lower protection against severe disease from omicron compared to those boosted with other brands.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.   

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