Asked by a talk show host to pick a favorite COVID-19 vaccine–Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson–Dr. Anthony Fauci did pick one: the one he could get first.
Johnson & Johnson, the latecomer in the trio of remedies to the pandemic that has killed more than half a million people in the United States, expects to deliver 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of March, and 100 million by the end of June.
The J&J vaccine has two advantages over the other varieties: It doesn’t need to be stored in freezers, and only one dose is needed. With Pfizer and Moderna, vaccinated people must make a second appointment for the booster after about a month, so logistics are more difficult.
Clinical trials have shown that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is comparable to the other two in preventing deaths and serious illness.
Still, some backlash exists to the newcomer on the market.
Some people worry it may be less effective than the other vaccines’ 95 percent shown in
trials. That’s partly because when they were tested, the variant of coronavirus hadn’t yet appeared to figure in the equation.
However, the J&J vaccine has been 85 percent effective in preventing death or severe illness, according to Health Care Dive.
It also would be ideal to offer people in rural and underserved communities where keeping the vaccine cold could be a problem, according to MarketWatch.
One who concurs with Fauci is Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine: “It’s a relatively easy call. This clearly gets way over the bar and it’s nice to have a single-dose vaccine.”
How the vaccines are different
In addition to being no need for boosters, and that J&J doesn’t need cold storage, the J&J vaccine works differently than Pfizer or Moderna. It uses viral vector technology, injecting a common cold virus that delivers genetic instructions. (It won’t give people a cold.)
Who should get the J&J vaccine?
While Pfizer’s vaccine is only for ages 16 and older, Moderna and J&J are for those 18 and older. If you have allergies or worry about pre-existing conditions, check with your doctor, but they are safe for most people.