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Two COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed within the U.S. proper now, and this week an FDA advisory committee will vote on whether or not a 3rd ought to be part of them.
If granted emergency use authorization, Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine would change into out there within the U.S., together with these from Pfizer and Moderna.
In scientific trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine seems to be 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 — in comparison with about 95% for Moderna and Pfizer. That has some folks questioning if they need to keep away from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Absolutely not, says Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
“What I’ve been saying to my family is, as soon as the J&J vaccine is authorized, if that’s what you can get, you should get it as soon as it’s your turn in line,” says Jha.
He factors out that the 66% vs. 95% effectiveness is not the proper comparability for a number of causes. He notes that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was examined in numerous settings — the U.S., a number of Latin American nations and South Africa, the place some worrisome variants of the virus have been first seen.
“So that 66% number really represents an amalgamation of a variety of different clinical trials. Moderna and Pfizer were not tested in those circumstances,” Jha tells All Things Considered. “And even if you just look at the U.S. data, the Johnson & Johnson number then starts getting much closer to the Moderna and Pfizer numbers.”
But all of that misses what Jha says is crucial level.
“What you care about is hospitalizations and deaths,” he says. “And Johnson & Johnson appears to be just as good as Moderna and Pfizer at preventing those.”
Jha notes that among the many vaccines which have reported outcomes, virtually all of them — together with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — have proven to be near 100% efficient at stopping hospitalizations and deaths.
In excerpts from his interview, Jha discusses the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the way which may have an effect on distribution.
Are there different vital variations among the many vaccines?
Johnson & Johnson has the large benefit of being one shot. So that is, after all, actually useful. There are plenty of variations in storage. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be saved mainly in any fridge. [The Pfizer vaccine is shipped and stored at ultracold temperatures.] So transportation, widespread availability, a lot simpler. But I definitely assume for most individuals, the concept of a single-shot vaccine must be engaging for lots of oldsters. And that additionally makes it simpler for folks to get.
As folks organizing this vaccination effort take a look at which vaccine ought to go the place, does the benefit of administering a one-shot vaccine that may be saved in a fridge decide the place the Johnson & Johnson vaccine goes to go?
I assume you are going to see that play out. The two-shot Pfizer vaccine is especially arduous to handle in, for instance, rural settings, hard-to-reach locations. Doable, however more durable. J&J vaccine — a lot, a lot simpler on that entrance. There are additionally sure individuals who may resolve they’d quite get a single shot than two pictures. And, , and that will additionally affect who finally ends up getting what.
Some persons are expressing concern that the vaccines that seem like more practical — Moderna, Pfizer — are going to go to constituencies which have extra political energy, extra clout, a louder voice, and that the so-called much less efficient vaccine, Johnson and Johnson, goes to go to extra disenfranchised teams. What’s your response to that?
First of all, I wish to make the case that the J&J vaccine will not be a lesser vaccine. And second is we completely shouldn’t be distributing this stuff based mostly on socioeconomic standing or any of these issues. We ought to actually be getting all these vaccines out all over the place, we must be targeted on disenfranchised teams, truly, for precedence as a result of they have been hit so arduous.