Who should get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the mRNA vaccines?

Two COVID-19 vaccines can be found in the U.S., and a 3rd, developed by Johnson & Johnson not too long ago submitted an software for emergency use authorization, that means it may very well be obtainable in early March. 

With so many choices, many individuals are questioning whether or not it issues which shot they get.

The quick reply is that you simply should get whichever shot you’re supplied, specialists instructed Live Science. But there are a number of explanation why sure photographs may work higher for various populations. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine had 66% efficacy at lowering extreme and average instances of COVID-19, which embrace both two gentle signs or yet one more severe symptom, corresponding to low blood oxygen ranges or elevated respiratory fee, Live Science previously reported. In different phrases, folks vaccinated with the J&J shot have been thrice much less more likely to get a light or average case of COVID-19 in contrast with individuals who obtained a placebo. Meanwhile, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had 95% efficacy, and the Moderna vaccine had 94% efficacy at stopping symptomatic COVID-19, that means any optimistic check with even one symptom, nevertheless gentle. All three vaccines are considered 100% efficient at stopping hospitalization and dying associated to COVID-19.


But whereas the Moderna and Pfizer two-shot regimens look, on paper, to be extra efficacious, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an edge as a result of it does not require a follow-up shot and it may be saved at extraordinary fridge temperatures for months, mentioned Dr. Peter Gulick, a professor of drugs and an infectious illness knowledgeable at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. That may assist with getting extra folks vaccinated particularly those that might not come again for a second shot,  in addition to in locales the place entry is an issue, he mentioned.

The Johnson & Johnson shot’s much less stringent storage necessities may very well be a bonus in rural areas, Gulick mentioned. “They can be put in a refrigerator and stored there, whereas Moderna, and definitely Pfizer, need much colder temperatures to keep their vaccine viable,” Gulick instructed Live Science. “The fact you can easily store [the Johnson & Johnson vaccine] in a doctor’s office, pharmacy, etc., could make it more accessible.” 

This single-shot vaccine additionally may very well be higher for individuals who might need issue touring to hospitals or mass vaccination websites (particularly those that are home- or bed-bound).

“People get one shot, but there’s no guarantee they can come back for the second shot,” Gulick instructed Live Science.


With the rise of recent coronavirus variants, some safety is best than no safety. Because a one-shot vaccine corresponding to Johnson & Johnson’s solely requires one shot, the similar variety of doses can go twice so far as with the different vaccines, which could be higher for controlling the unfold of the virus. However, preliminary provide of the J&J vaccine shall be restricted; the firm initially promised 12 million doses in March, however it could fall behind on manufacturing, according to The New York Times.

Dr. William Lang, former White House doctor and the medical director of JobSiteCare, instructed Live Science that the decrease efficacy should not dissuade folks from getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson & Johnson examined their vaccine towards the South African variant, which has been proven to evade neutralizing antibodies, which the immune system deploys to cease the coronavirus from infecting cells.

“The reported lower effectiveness may be somewhat real, but it may also be a function of testing in a slightly different environment because of the newly circulating variants,” Lang mentioned. “If my 88-year-old dad or I were offered J&J, I would not hesitate to get it.”


Given the emergence of vaccine-evading variants, like the South African and Brazilian variants, lowering unfold as rapidly as doable is critical to decrease the possibilities for additional mutations to evolve, Gulick mentioned.

On the flip aspect, the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which ship mRNA into muscle cells to inform the physique to supply an immune response to the coronavirus spike protein, do appear to have greater efficacy, Lang mentioned.

Gulick mentioned high-risk teams — corresponding to the aged, who mount a much less sturdy immune response, and people who find themselves immunocompromised — should be prioritized for vaccines with greater efficacy. 

“I would probably go with the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, at least for my patients with HIV. But if the insurance only covers a certain one, I’d say give it to them because I’d just want the vaccine in their arm,” Gulick mentioned. “But I would choose the two-dose shot if I had the preference.” 

With the world surpassing 100 million COVID-19 instances, in response to the World Health Organization dashboard, most of us will not get an opportunity to choose and select: It’s necessary simply to get vaccinated.

Originally published on Live Science.

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