J&J Jab Adds 3rd Shot to US Vax Mix

Image: Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty
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Image: Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine secured approvals for widespread use by the US FDA and a CDC advisory panel over the weekend, NBC reports

  • The first shipment of 4 million doses is on the way, though supplies are expected to be spotty at least through March.

 
J&J’s vaccine is single-shot and requires less fussy handling than the Pfizer and Moderna jabs, according to CNN. Efficacy differences: 

  • J&J: 66% protective against moderate-severe COVID-19 infections, CNN reports, and 85% effective against severe disease

  • Pfizer and Moderna had: 95% and 94% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infection, respectively

But: It’s an “apples and oranges” comparison because the trials were conducted differently, writes Helen Branswell in STAT

  • Pfizer & Moderna tested for any symptomatic COVID infection; J&J tested for protection against moderate-severe illness 

  • Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were trialed before new variants emerged. The J&J trial came later; a South African trial branch involved people infected with the B.1.351 variant.

Key Concern: The difference in efficacies may make some people see J&J’s vax as “second class,” Sarah Christopherson of the National Women's Health Network told CNN. However, all 3 vaccines perform excellently at protecting people from serious illness—the most important measure by far.
 
Bottom Line: Americans are not likely to get a choice of vaccine—and they should take the one that is offered to them, top ID doc Anthony Fauci said yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

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