Johnson & Johnson claims its vaccine protects against Delta, adding to the arsenal against the variant.


Johnson & Johnson has said its Covid vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, adding to the growing body of evidence that the most widely available Covid vaccines offer protection against its more dangerous variants.

Even eight months after inoculation, the J. & J. The vaccine is proving to be highly effective against Delta, the company reported Thursday, a reassuring finding for the 11 million Americans who have been vaccinated and for countries around the world betting on receiving the vaccine. In the United States, the variant, first identified in India, now accounts for about one in four new cases, and the CDC listed it in 23 states.

Johnson & Johnson said their vaccine showed a small drop in potency against the Delta variant, compared to its efficacy against the original virus, and a larger drop against the beta variant first identified in South Africa. This is the same pattern seen with mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The intense talk about Delta’s threat has left some vaccinated people feeling anxious about whether they are protected. The worldwide spread of the variant has resulted in further restrictions from Ireland to Malaysia.

Frustration had built up over the lack of clarity regarding the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against Delta. And the reports of a group of cases among Yankees baseball team players who had received the Johnson & Johnson blow, although all asymptomatic or mild, did nothing to allay fears.

Studies have shown that the Delta and Beta variants slightly reduce the effectiveness of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. For Pfizer, studies show that two doses provide 88% protection against the Delta variant, just below the 93% protection against Alpha. The Moderna vaccine gave results similar to those of Pfizer in previous studies.

Johnson & Johnson has collected less data than its vaccine peers, and the study published Thursday was small and has yet to be published in a scientific journal. Updates on the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been slow as it was deployed later than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the United States. The vaccine offered about 72 percent protection against early versions of the virus.



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