Hope is on the horizon that soon more people may be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine now that the Johnson & Johnson shot is one step closer to receiving emergency use authorization by the end of the week.
According to documents released by the FDA, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was deemed to be safe and effective. Though, its availability might be less than anticipated. The company said it will have 4 million doses ready to go.
Johnson & Johnson says its single-dose vaccine was 72% effective in the United States at preventing moderate to severe COVID symptoms. In comparison, Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are 95% effective.
“They met the basic criteria that were initially set for a vaccine, so they meet that criteria, but I honestly think they could do better,” explained Dr. Aileen Marty, a renowned infectious disease expert and a professor at Florida International University.
She said the Johnson & Johnson shot will provide you some level of protection and will help in the fight against the overall pandemic, but says the company should begin trials on use of a booster.
“To be very, very clear, this is a vaccine that is helpful as a population health method,” Marty said. “It is going to reduce the overall burden of disease and that’s good.”
The Johnson & Johnson shot was 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, but Marty said you have a much lower chance at becoming a “long-hauler” with the other vaccines.
However, “there’s no question, it is not as good as Pfizer or Moderna. However, if this is the only vaccine available to you, take it and that’s exactly what I told my own daughter," she said.
To put it into perspective, she explained that the Johnson & Johnson shot is very similar to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
“The Sputnik vaccine is essentially the same as the JNJ vaccine followed by a booster by a slightly different virus vector, and that’s how the Russians have gotten to nearly 90% efficacy," she said.
The bottom line is supply is still an issue. Marty recommends taking whatever shot is available to you.