SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s official, the US now has three COVID-19 vaccines on the market. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has been authorized and will begin shipping this week.
It’s a source of hope in vaccine supply. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine soon will be used at sites across the county and right here in Georgia.
“It’s wonderful. You get one dose, the side effects in general are less with this than they are with the other two and it is very much protective against developing severe illness, requiring the use of a ventilator, a hospital and/or death. In fact in the clinical trials 44,000 people were vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson and there were no deaths among those people,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health District.
Doctors say those who got Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine began developing immunity within two weeks, which increases until about seven weeks. In addition to it being a one-dose shot, it’s also easier to store which helps with distribution. Dr. Paul Bradley says this vaccine operates differently than what’s on the market, but does not have the live COVID virus.
“This one is more traditional. It uses an adnovirus to bring the message. Either way we are trying to teach your body how to look out for this evil COVID virus that is going to attack it and since it doesn’t know what it looks like ahead of time, this is your messenger. This is the picture postcard of what the enemy looks like and you’ve got to get ready and you want to be able to defend yourself,” said Dr. Paul Bradley, Chief Investigator for Meridian Clinical Research.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is said to be 72 percent effective in the US preventing moderate to severe disease, but nearly 100 percent against hospitalizations and death. And in trials it was even tested against COVID variants.
“It was still a very effective vaccine even in countries with variants not necessarily quite as, the numbers weren’t quite as good but then you don’t expect, and again as a way of comparison we’re typically happy with a flu vaccine if we find out that it’s going to be 40 to 50 percent effective and these things are in the 80s and 90 percent effective. This is just tremendously better than even the best flu vaccinations,” said Dr. Davis.
Experts say you can’t compare Pfizer and Moderna evenly with Johnson & Johnson as they were tested at different times, but they do recommend you get your vaccine as soon as you can.
“I still think every day that you go without a vaccine is a day to get COVID and unfortunately an opportunity to be severely harmed or even die from COVID. So really my thought is get a vaccine and get the first one you can,” said Dr. Bradley.