For patients who are allergic to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be eligible to receive the Johnson & Johns/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, CDC staff said. While the CDC emphasized that the mRNA vaccines are not interchangeable with Johnson & Johnson’s viral vector vaccine, as the safety and efficacy of a mixed product series have yet to be evaluated, patients may receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in “exceptional” circumstances, such as a contraindication following the first dose of mRNA vaccine.
It is important for individuals to remember that they should not attempt to be vaccinated with both vaccines, nor should they consider getting a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if their second dose of mRNA vaccine is unavailable. It is also important to note that you cannot “get extra protection” by getting additional doses of any of the vaccines. The CDC said, “we are recommending if someone has completed a series of vaccines with mRNA, they are considered vaccinated, they do not need any additional protection”.
Sarah Mbaeyi, MD, of the CDC, also said “we are not recommending people substitute in Johnson & Johnson if there’s a temporary unavailability of their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna”. The current CDC guidelines state that individuals can wait up to 6 weeks between doses of mRNA vaccine if there is a shortage of second doses. Stay the course, stay well, wear a mask, get vaccinated, and stay tuned!