Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is the third vaccine to receive emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And, many consider it to be the gamechanger the country needs to streamline its mass vaccination efforts.
Here are important things to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
It protects against severe disease and death
Research shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prevents 85% of severe disease. The vaccine prevented severe illness even in areas of the world where concerning variants circulate. Plus, the vaccine was 100% effective in clinical trials at preventing deaths.
It’s natural to want to compare the effectiveness of Johnson & Johnson to the other COVID-19 vaccines. But it’s not that easy. Testing happened during a more complicated phase of the pandemic, after more variants emerged. And, it was tested in different areas of the world for effectiveness. Preventing severe disease, hospitalizations and death are what we most need in a vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides this protection.
Side effects and exclusions are similar to other vaccines
Common side effects include pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea that last a day or two after vaccination. The vaccine is recommended for those 18 and over. It’s not recommended if you’ve had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine. Essentially, the guidance is similar to other COVID-19 vaccines.
It shows promise for protecting against asymptomatic spread
According to the FDA, there’s evidence the vaccine may protect against asymptomatic infections. This means it can reduce the risk of a vaccinated person unknowingly passing along the virus to others. This has been a key question about vaccines throughout the pandemic.
It was developed by Jannsen
Jannsen is the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson and Johnson. Even though the media refers to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you may see references in other places to the Jannsen vaccine. For instance, your vaccination card may say Jannsen instead of Johnson & Johnson.
It’s easier to use and store
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose instead of two. And, it’s stored in a regular refrigerator instead of extreme temperatures. It’s a much-needed tool in our immunization toolbox because of its ease of use.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine should help our country, and the world, more easily vaccinate the most vulnerable in our population. These are the places where specialized refrigeration and the ability to follow up for a second dose are not practical. And, it should help streamline our mass vaccination efforts.
Remember, it will take time to vaccinate everyone against COVID-19. We must keep adhering to tried and tested measures that keep each and all of us safe. This means we must continue to follow the 3Ws – Wear your mask, Wash your hands and Watch your distance.