The city of San Francisco is facilitating residents who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to receive a Pfizer booster shot.
In an update from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), the Population Health Division said that vaccination sites would accommodate off-label requests for a third dose with a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from people ages 18 years and older who have completed a primary vaccine dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a single booster or supplemental dose.
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The department said that it recommends the third dose at least five months after the second, noting that eligibility is limited to San Franciscans and people who received their primary Johnson & Johnson dose there.
“In addition, those who wish to receive this 3rd dose should consult with [a health care provider] before scheduling an appointment for their 3rd dose and will need to self-attest that they have consulted with [a health care provider] before the dose is administered,” the letter said, adding that non-SFDPH-operated vaccination providers in San Francisco are encouraged to adopt the same accommodation.
The SFDPH cited recent studies that showed that a third COVID-19 vaccine dose is necessary to reduce severe infection, hospitalization and severe outcomes from the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
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“Although this research has so far focused on persons who received a primary series with non-J&J vaccines, we believe that similar studies in persons whose primary series was a single J&J vaccine dose would yield similar results showing that 3 doses are needed for optimal protection,” the agency said, continuing that guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently allows adults who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine primary dose to get a single booster shot.
“Those same persons, had they received a primary mRNA 2-dose series instead, would be eligible for a maximum of [three] COVID-19 vaccine doses; [two] primary + [one] booster,” the SFDPH said.
The CDC also recommends people receive the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s in most situations.
For those who got Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot, the CDC recommends a booster dose with either of the mRNA vaccines at least two months after the primary dose.
City data through Monday shows 779,236 residents of all ages are vaccinated in the city and county of San Francisco, with 89% of residents ages 5 and older reported with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Eighty-two percent of residents 65 and older are fully vaccinated. April 2020 Census Bureau data estimates the county’s population to be 873,965.
CDC data shows 18,177,294 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S.