The J&J vaccine is different from both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in a few ways. First, the J&J vaccine can be stored at refrigerated — as opposed to freezer — temperature conditions and requires only a single dose. This new vaccine uses what is referred to as “viral vector” technology. Whereas the other vaccines use mRNA technology to deliver the blueprint to our cells, this new product uses a modified and harmless viral vector to deliver the instructions. Both technologies result in our bodies mounting an immune response, protecting against COVID-19. As mentioned in previous issues, both mRNA and viral vector technology have been studied for years even though these are some of the first vaccines to truly use the technology.
Another thing worth mentioning is the relative effectiveness of the J&J product compared to the vaccines that have been in circulation for the past few months. It has been estimated that both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have efficacy rates around 95%, while the J&J single vaccine regimen is around 70%. One key thing to remember is that the trials for the J&J vaccine may have included variant COVID-19 viral strains that were not present during the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna trials. When a virus mutates to a different strain, there could be reduced effectiveness for any vaccine. This has been the case with the “South African” viral strain that has surfaced. The good news is that even including that strain, all vaccine products still exceed the 50% efficacy threshold that was set forth by the FDA for a vaccine product to be considered for use. Also, as with other vaccines, even with reduced effectiveness, the overall incidence of severe complications from infection is reduced in those that have been vaccinated.
WITH ANOTHER VACCINE PRODUCT AVAILABLE AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HELPING TO RAMP UP PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION, WE MAY BE CLOSER TO MEETING OUR NATIONAL VACCINATION EFFORTS.
The closer we get to that point, the closer we may get to getting back to life as we knew it before the pandemic.
Thanks again for stopping by and continue to stay safe and healthy.