The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Has Begun Arriving in New York State
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) voted to recommend emergency approval for the rollout of a new COVID-19 vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The J&J shot has garnered national news coverage for the past few months, offering just a single dose. A third vaccine in the mix is a game-changer for the millions of eligible people anxiously waiting to receive the vaccine.
A One-Shot Deal with Great Protection
The J&J vaccine was tested in more than 44,000 people in the U.S., South Africa, and Latin America (including those diagnosed with emerging variants). Globally, it was 66.1 percent effective against moderate to severe/critical COVID-19 infection at least four weeks after vaccination. In the U.S., it is considered 72 percent effective and offers 86 percent protection against severe forms of the disease.
“This vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death,” says Kelly Rudd, PharmD, Bassett’s network director of Pharmacy Services. “It’s a one-shot deal, meaning patients do not have to return for a second dose to get full protection. The vaccine has arrived in our region, and following the directives from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), we have begun to vaccinate high-risk patients admitted to our Bassett network hospitals.”
But…isn’t it Less Effective than Pfizer and Moderna?
Experts say it’s important not to get caught up in the numbers. “It is difficult to directly compare the J&J vaccine to Pfizer and Moderna because they were tested at different times during the pandemic,” explains Charles Hyman, MD, Infectious Disease specialist at Bassett Healthcare Network. “I think if folks are interested in a number, then the most important one to keep in mind is that the vaccine was 85 percent effective in preventing severe and critical disease a month after vaccination. It is also important to note that the J&J vaccine performed very well against several of the emerging variants."
Should I Choose One Over the Others to Ensure I Get the Best Protection?
Clinicians agree that getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible is crucial. “When the opportunity comes along for a vaccine – no matter which one – jump,” says Dr. Hyman. “I would recommend any of these vaccines to my loved ones – Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J. If I were not already vaccinated, I would take whichever vaccine became available to me first.”
Why Wearing Masks and Social Distancing is Still Important
Researchers are still studying whether we can carry and spread the disease after vaccination. So until we know the answer to this question it will be important to continue wearing a mask and keeping six feet of space between yourself and others.
There are practical concerns as well. With no way of knowing who has and who hasn't received a vaccine, our businesses and community spaces will still be upholding COVID-19 policies uniformly to keep everyone safe.
Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Keep monitoring our website for the latest updates on local vaccine supply, registration opportunities, and more. Looking to get on our stand-by list? Send your information to us so we can let you know if there are last-minute cancellations.