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News >  Health

University of Washington will test COVID-19 booster shots

UPDATED: Thu., July 15, 2021

A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 March 26 in Philadelphia. The University of Washington is using Johnson & Johnson vaccines to study whether booster shots are needed to protect against the virus.   (Matt Rourke)
A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 March 26 in Philadelphia. The University of Washington is using Johnson & Johnson vaccines to study whether booster shots are needed to protect against the virus.  (Matt Rourke)

The University of Washington was selected as one of a dozen sites nationwide that will test Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The Johnson & Johnson booster shot will be administered to participants who are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Another group of participants which has yet to be vaccinated will receive the Moderna vaccine, then potentially a booster shot at a later date.

The trial is small for now, as a part of the National Institutes of Health study to see if mixing and matching booster shots works.

Participants will be followed for a year and be required to visit Harborview Medical Center up to 11 times during that year for an in-person visit.

The trial will start with 15 participants at UW but could grow.

“We want to have the evidence about whether boosters are effective or not,” Dr. Christine Johnston, a UW professor and lead investigator for the trial, said in a news release. “Right now, I think we still need a lot more data to understand when to get boosters, how to get them, how to phase them, the timing. And so that is exactly what this trial is trying to address.”

Researchers will be measuring participants’ immune responses.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot, but studies and research are in the works to determine whether a booster shot might be necessary.

“We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed,” the CDC said in a statement. “We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”

Here’s a look at local numbers:

The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 34 COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Thursday.

There are 35 people hospitalized in Spokane with the virus.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 41 new cases and one additional death on Thursday.

There have been 322 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents.

There are 27 Panhandle residents hospitalized.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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