Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine now endorsed by FDA; how does it stack up to Pfizer, Moderna?


(WTNH) — Some good news in the COVID-19 fight. It looks like a third vaccine – this time a one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson – is closer to emergency approval. It was endorsed by the FDA Wednesday.

So with Wednesday’s FDA endorsement comes a little bit more information as the studies and the data are starting to pile up. So how does Johnson & Johnson do against the other vaccines? And should you take it?

RELATED: FDA finds Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine effective and safe

“The Pfizer and Moderna studies were not done in South Africa,” Dr. Manisha Juthani with Yale Medicine explained.

J&J was tested in South Africa and was nearly 60% effective against that variant. In U.S. trials, J&J was 72% effective against the strain here. Pfizer and Moderna are in the low 90s in the percentage of effectiveness against the U.S. COVID strain. But J&J was 85% effective at keeping people out of the hospital and there were no deaths in the U.S.

Dr. Maniaha Juthani, “I know there is some concern about the J&J vaccine in terms of people over the age of 60 with comorbidities. It does look like the efficacy does go down a little bit in the older age group, with comorbidities, so I will be interested to see what they say in the approval process and the recommendations.”

When News 8 asked people on the streets of West Hartford what they thought, they said:

“I would prefer Pfizer because more people are getting it.”

“Neither because I don’t feel like they have found a cure for COVID.”

Interestingly enough, the next three people who came up, said they didn’t want the vaccine either.

So if you are going to take it, should you choose Pfizer or Moderna or the new J&J if it’s approved?

Doctors said you may not get a choice when you show up to the clinic. Whatever they have on hand for that day is what they’re going to be giving out, and you should take it. They said the bottom line is they’re trying to get as many people to take the vaccine as possible so they can get herd immunity, which will take quite a large percentage of the population to get there.

Dr. Juthani, “60-85% is a range that I think is reasonable to consider, between those who have either had COVID-19 and or are vaccinated.”

So if approved when will Johnson & Johnson start distribution of the vaccine?

Dr. Juthani explained, “J&J is a little bit delayed in getting out the number of vaccines to the public, and so they are talking about two million doses being shipped out next week if the emergency use authorization is put into place.”

Johnson & Johnson also says they are looking at 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million doses by the end of June. Again keep in mind, the vaccine goes for approval at the end of this week.

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