FDA supports booster shot for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: 5 Things podcast

·7 min read

On today's episode of 5 Things: Data shows significantly more protection after a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Plus, former President Bill Clinton continues to recover after sepsis, NASA launches an asteroid probe, 'Succession' returns and the Chicago Sky look for their first WNBA title.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning, I'm Taylor Wilson, and this is 5 Things you need to know, Saturday, October 16, 2021. Today, an FDA panel has signed off on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Plus, President Bill Clinton is recovering from sepsis, and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines. Seven people have died in Lebanon this week amid street gun battles in Beirut. Confrontations have erupted over a long-running probe into last year's massive port explosion. Chinese astronauts began a six-month mission today at the country's first permanent space station. The new crew also includes a woman who's expected to become the first Chinese female space-walker. The Houston Astros took game one of the ALCS last night, beating the Boston Red Sox 5-4. Game two is set for this afternoon.

Taylor Wilson:

An FDA panel is supporting a vaccine booster shot for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines and related biological products advisory committed voted unanimously 19-0 to support what J & J describes as a booster two months after an initial shot. The decision comes after data showed that a second shot on top of the single dose vaccine two months later bumped up protection from 72 to 94% against moderate or severe disease. The company said that a booster shot gives 100% protection against severe or critical symptoms. CDC data found that the J & J vaccine is currently only 68% effective against hospitalizations in adults and overall effective at 60% against the virus, compared with Moderna 95% and Pfizer at 80%. While the committee suggested a booster at least two months after the initial shot, Johnson & Johnson says it could be even better to do so for the general population after six months. Dr. Johan Van Hoof spoke on behalf of the company.

Johan Van Hoof, MD:

Where we see that in general population, we would look into giving it [inaudible 00:02:26] at six months to have optimal benefit immunologically from the booster. If we see specific situations like people in an environment where it's an extremely high transmission rate of new variants, healthcare workers, fragile people like elderly with comorbidities, there we might think that it might be beneficial to also give the boost earlier.

Taylor Wilson:

Data from Johnson & Johnson and real-world experience show that the single shot gives less protection than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which both require two initial doses. But company studies suggest that J & J protection continues over time, while effectiveness against less severe disease appears to fade with the other two. Yesterday's FDA panel recommendation followed a decision Thursday to recommend Moderna boosters for older people and those at increased risk of infection. Pfizer boosters are already circulating for the same groups. Also, yesterday, the committee considered a study from the National Institutes of Health which looked at mixing and matching vaccine booster doses. It tracked around 500 people and found that a J & J shot followed by either the Moderna or Pfizer as a booster produced a stronger immune response than two shots of J & J. But the panel decided that more data was needed.

Taylor Wilson:

Former President Bill Clinton is still recovering after being hospitalized for a urological infection that later turned into a blood infection called sepsis. The 75-year-old went into the UC Irvine Medical Center after feeling fatigued on Tuesday night. Sepsis is a generic infection in the bloodstream and can develop from a number of different infections, including in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. An aid, though, did clarify that Clinton did not go into septic shock, which is a life-threatening condition that happens with a severe drop in blood pressure. A spokesperson said Clinton is now on the mend.

Taylor Wilson:

NASA is launching a probe named Lucy into space today to begin a 12-year mission to eight different asteroids, including a main belt and seven different Trojan asteroids. According to NASA, the Trojans are stabilized by both the sun and its largest planet in a gravitational balancing act. These Trojans were captured in Jupiter's orbit, as NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen explains.

Thomas Zurbuchen:

When Jupiter formed, early in the solar system, about four billion years ago, the parts that formed the solar system were scattered all around, and those pieces got trapped. Some of those pieces got trapped at these unique points, out there by Jupiter distances, going around the sun. It's called the Lagrangian points. Right there are these Trojan asteroids. Later this year, we're actually going to launch a mission called DART, which is all about learning how to redirect one of those bodies that we would see coming in to Earth. This particular one is no threat to Earth. It's out there, and we can go visit it and learn how to impart momentum. It's really critical for us to do two things. The first one is to learn about every threat to the Earth by investigating the deep sky, both from the ground, but also from space. The second one is to learn how to deflect such threats if they occur.

Taylor Wilson:

Tim Russ, who played Lieutenant Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, helped detect one of the asteroids along with five other citizen astronomers.

Taylor Wilson:

Succession is back.

Speaker 4:

My family have disappeared. I need to know where everyone is and what everyone's thinking.

Speaker 5:

There he is, the little man has started this big war.

Speaker 6:

Right now, I'm the real you.

Speaker 5:

Sure, and I'm the real you. You sound deranged.

Taylor Wilson:

The HBO drama series kicks off it's third season tomorrow, following the filthy rich Roy family, and like lots of prestige TV, it's back after a long, pandemic-related two-year hiatus. The season two finale aired in October 2019, when, spoiler alert: the forever disappointing son, Kendall, turned the tables on his dad, Logan Roy. Season three picks up in the immediate aftermath of that chaos. You can tune in tomorrow night at 9:00 PM Eastern on HBO or catch the show streaming on HBO Max.

Taylor Wilson:

The Chicago Sky are looking to win their first WNBA title in franchise history tomorrow if they can close out the Phoenix Mercury. The Sky largely were not expected to reach this point after a very average 16 and 16 regular season, but they do have two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker, who returned to her home state after 13 years with the LA Sparks. The Sky, in the playoffs, won battles with Dallas and Minnesota before taking out the favorites for the title, the Connecticut Sun. Now, the Sky are up 2-1 on the Mercury after an 86-50 rout last night, the biggest blowout in WNBA finals history. You can tune in tomorrow at 3:00 PM Eastern, noon Pacific on ESPN.

Taylor Wilson:

And you can find Five Things seven days a week right here, wherever you're listening right now. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. Claire's back tomorrow with the Sunday edition of Five Things. I'll be back Monday with more of the podcast from the USA Today Network.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FDA supports J&J booster shots, 'Succession' returns: 5 Things podcast