The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine seems to be very close to being granted emergency use authorization from the FDA. The two currently available vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are similar: both are based on mRNA technology, have demonstrated efficacy of about 95%, and require 2 shots spaced either 3 or 4 weeks apart. Both require storage at very low temperatures which complicates transportation and distribution.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different technology and requires just one shot. The J&J vaccine prevents mild to moderate disease at a rate of about 65% and is very effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19. The logistics of distribution are also considerably less burdensome as it does not require extremely cold storage.
We assume people anxious to get vaccinated will take whichever one is available. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, the vaccine supply will catch up to the demand. When you have a choice, what decision will you make?
There are other considerations. Since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easier to store and has a longer shelf life, it should be easier to distribute in more rural areas. Could a two-tier system develop where urban and rural areas have different access? At this point, Covid-19 vaccines are at no cost to individuals. Will this change in the future? What about boosters? There is a good discussion on some of these issues in STAT News.
Additional Covid-19 vaccines bring choices — and complications — to the rollout
Stat News – Jan 29, 2021
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