There’s a new kid on the block in terms of COVID19 vaccines!
Johnson and Johnson has just received FDA Emergency Use Authorization to distribute their vaccine to the general population. Having another vaccine in circulation is wonderful news when it comes to getting as many vaccinated as possible.
How effective is it?
Before I get into the numbers, there is an IMPORTANT caveat: J&J tested their vaccine in countries with emerging COVID19 variant strains. They “took one for the team,” so to speak, to see how the vaccine holds up in the biggest question mark that still remains in our fight again COVID19.
- The vaccine is 72% effective in the United States in preventing moderate COVID19 infection (66% in Latin America, 57% in South Africa).
- The vaccine is 86% effective at preventing severe disease. Severe disease = hospitalization, ICU admission, or needed a ventilator.
- No one who received the J&J vaccine and got COVID19 died during the study.
How does it work?
A small piece of DNA that encodes for instructions to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is injected into an adenovirus (the common cold virus). This virus has been modified to be unable to replicate inside the body, meaning it cannot make you sick.
Once the virus enters a human cell, it will start making the spike protein, which will set off an immune response within our bodies against this protein.
You only need to get one injection!
Is it safe?
This vaccine was tested on almost 44,000 people, which is similar to most other vaccine safety studies. The main side effects includes injection site reactions, fatigue, and headaches. Only one person had anaphylaxis.
Which vaccine should I choose?
Now, this is the question that has created a lot of fear and confusion. We have to remember that the primary concerns with COVID19 are hospitalizations and death. An 86% reduction in hospitalization and 100% protection from death is GREAT news and will definitely help us in the fight against a virus that has already killed over 512,000 Americans.
We should be just as excited about this vaccine as we have been with the Pfizer/Moderna options. You can feel comfortable getting any of the 3 available vaccines, knowing that you are not only protecting yourself but also protecting the people around you.
Getting the most number of people vaccinated in the quickest way possible is paramount in moving passed this epidemic. It is paramount in preventing the spread of these more severe variant strains.
It is paramount in keeping our communities as safe as possible.
More vaccine news:
MAHEC and UNCA are now offering vaccinations. You can sign up here: https://covid.mahec.net/covid/
Jackson County Health Department has opened up a new vaccine site in conjunction with WCU in order to help speed up vaccination rates.
Troy Jackson, MD
Wild Health Asheville