At the governor’s press conference last week, he said that there is a chance that we could see the Johnson & Johnson vaccine included in our next allocation from the federal government this week.
Since the FDA has given it the green light, those chances are looking good. And with hospitalizations, case numbers, and deaths declining, lawmakers and medical professionals are hoping that adding the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the Pfizer and Moderna will help improve those numbers even more.
“These vaccines are safe, they’re extremely effective, and they prevent death from covid…all of them,” said Dr. Sandra Kemmerley, an infectious disease specialist who spoke during Oschner’s public zoom conference Monday, March 1, that addressed the new vaccine.
But the new vaccine is not like the other two. Its genetic makeup is a bit different.
“The J&J vaccine is a little bit different,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten another infectious disease specialist who spoke at the conference. “It uses an arbovirus that is not infective to carry DNA to the body and then your body produces a response to that and develops immunity.”
It also doesn’t require as many doses and the storage conditions for the new vaccine will make it much easier to manage.
“It is a single shot, so there’s only one shot required at this point for the J&J preparation. It also does not require the extreme cold storage that Pfizer and Moderna have required in the past. So, it is a little bit easier in terms of managing. It can be stored in refrigerated settings,“ explained Dr. Baumgarten.
But what it does share with the other two vaccines is its effectiveness towards the other COVID variants that have recently made their way to the United States.
“All the data indicates that all these vaccines currently are effective even against the strains that are now circulating. But those studies are still ongoing,” added Dr. Baumgarten.
We know that the new vaccine will help combat and prevent covid symptoms, but its effectiveness against transmission is still up in the air.
“So, in theory, we would suspect that transmission would be less likely or not occur, but we really need data to confirm that,” Dr. Baumgarten noted.
Even though the Johnson & Johnson vaccine seems to be more convenient at the moment, doctors say there’s no difference in its effectiveness at combating the virus.
“It’s our recommendation that everyone who’s eligible get vaccinated with the vaccine that becomes available to you and not necessarily try to select one over the other,” Dr. Kemmerley emphasized.