Understanding Vax Nuances

After initially rejecting Johnson & Johnson vaccines—saying they were “very good” but “not as good” as the Moderna and Pfizer’s—Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan walked back his statement, The Hill reports.

In a Detroit Free Press op-ed, Duggan clarified that all 3 are “extremely effective” in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. He noted: 

  • The J&J vaccine “had to contend with emerging variants that the Moderna and Pfizer trials did not,” and still had high efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and death.

  • All 3 vaccines have a higher efficacy rate than standard flu vaccine’s 50% efficacy.

Brown University’s School of Public Health Dean Ashish Jha noted that COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are so rare among the people vaccinated in these trials, to quibble over differences is akin to “counting how many angels are dancing on the head of the pin,” according to The Atlantic. But writer Hilda Bastien warns scientists not to give the impression that all vaccines are equal and protect perfectly: 

  • It’s still early days for the data, and vaccines won’t uniformly cause COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths to disappear.

  • People are likely to care about outcomes other than hospitalization and death, including adverse reactions and convenience.

The Quote: “People who think the vaccines provide ironclad protection may lose trust in experts if reality falls short,” Bastien writes.

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