A panel of US health advisors has recommended the US Food and Drug Administration authorize a second shot of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, which has received single-dose vaccination.
The panel expressed concern Friday that Americans receiving the shot are not as protected as those who were given a two-dose vaccination from drugmakers Pfizer or Moderna.
Last month, the FDA authorized a third booster shot for the Pfizer vaccine for seniors as well as adults who are at high risk for COVID-19. On Thursday, an FDA advisory panel recommended similar action for Moderna Booster except for using a lower dose.
Johnson & Johnson is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States that is only a single dose. Initially, it was praised for its ability to take effect quickly, but it soon became of concern that it led to a rare blood clotting disorder and a neurological disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome. It is now facing criticism that it is less effective than rival brands.
Of the 188 million Americans who were fully vaccinated, only about 15 million Americans received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In other developments on Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travelers. It has said it will allow travelers to receive any vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or the World Health Organization.
Earlier in the day, the White House said it would lift the COVID-19 travel ban for international travelers who have been fully vaccinated on November 8.
In France, health officials on Friday scrapped a policy to allow free COVID-19 testing for all in an effort to persuade people to get vaccinated. Now, only people who have been vaccinated, who have a prescription from a doctor, or minors will be allowed to take the test free of charge, while others will have to pay.
Health ministry data on Friday showed that COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the country, with 6,099 new cases being reported from last Friday’s 4,470 cases.
South Africa said on Friday it would start vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 next week using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The government is trying to meet the target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by December.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said on Friday they have submitted data to the EU regulatory agency to approve their coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5-11. Companies have already taken similar steps with US regulators.
In Italy, authorities on Friday made health passes mandatory for all workers. Vaccinations, a negative test, or evidence of recent recovery from infection must be shown for the pass to work.
Demonstrations were organized scattered across the country to protest the new rules, with 6,000 protesters in the northeastern port of Trieste.
And in Russia, the coronavirus task force said the daily number of new coronavirus infections and deaths hit another record on Friday. It reported 32,196 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 999 deaths in the last 24 hours.