KEY POINTS

  • The move comes after the city received a high number of requests for extra shots
  • Health officials maintained that the J&J vaccine gives high levels of protection against COVID-19
  • Residents from other counties may also get an extra vaccine shot

San Francisco on Tuesday announced that it will start allowing patients who received the single dose Janssen vaccine by Johnson & Johnson to get a second “supplemental” shot produced by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. 

Officials for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital said residents can now request a “supplemental dose” of an mRNA vaccine after they’ve been fully vaccinated with the one dose J&J shot. 

The move comes after the city received a high number of requests for extra shots. Health officials maintained that residents who received the J&J vaccine would still get high levels of protection against the novel coronavirus and its variants.

“We have gotten requests based on patients talking to their physicians, and that’s why we are allowing the accommodations,” Naveena Bobba, deputy director of the city’s Public Health Department, told CNBC

The city’s health department, however, clarified that they do not consider the extra shot as a “booster dose.” They also noted that they do not recommend booster vaccines, echoing remarks previously made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"We continue to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and do not recommend a booster shot at this time," the department said. 

Residents from other counties may come to San Francisco to get a supplemental dose. However, health officials will prioritize the city’s residents and would only begin administering the extra shot to people from other counties if there is enough supply, Business Insider reported. 

In early July, J&J cited data showing that their single-shot COVID-19 vaccine generated a strong immune response against the more contagious Delta variant, based on blood samples taken from fully vaccinated individuals. 

“Today’s newly announced studies reinforce the ability of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to help protect the health of people globally,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson, said in a blog post

However, a recent study conducted by researchers from New York University found that, while the J&J vaccine could protect its recipients from COVID-19, the shot’s effectiveness in neutralizing the Delta and Lambda variants “significantly decreased” over time. 

The study's researchers suggested that J&J recipients may need a shot of an mRNA vaccine to boost their protection against COVID-19. 

US regulators approved the re-start of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations halted over blood clotting concerns US regulators approved the re-start of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations halted over blood clotting concerns Photo: AFP / Joseph Prezioso