As Johnson and Johnson vaccine gets EUA, experts urge public to take whatever vaccine they can get

Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-28 10:11:43-05

TAMPA, Fla. — While it’s good news that a third safe and effective vaccine is hitting the market, numbers surrounding efficacy are leaving people to wonder whether they want Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine or one of the mRNA based vaccines.

Experts warn they’re all very effective.

Dr. Michael Teng, an Associate Professor at USF warns people to not get caught up in percentages, and take whatever vaccine you can get.

“It’s really effective at preventing severe COVID, preventing hospitalizations, and it’s extremely effective against preventing deaths,” said Dr. Teng.

According to the FDA, Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is 66 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 cases at least 28 days after vaccination.

It’s 85 percent effective in preventing severe or critical cases of COVID-19 at least 28 days after vaccination.

“The other little numbers, they’re very difficult to compare because of different trial times situations during the pandemic. The mRNA vaccines were tested in the summer when transmission was pretty low and we didn’t have variants. The Janssen vaccine was tested when we had high transmission levels and a whole bunch of new variants,” said Dr. Teng.

Between Pfizer and Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson, Dr. Teng says they’ve each got their benefits.

“One of the kind of really interesting things for me was, the decrease in efficacy of this vaccine from the US compared to South Africa was not as much as we’ve seen with some other vaccines so that’s a really good sign,” said Dr. Teng.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is also a single-dose vaccine, and it will remain stable for around three months at regular refrigerator temperatures.

But the biggest benefit, it puts another safe vaccine on the table.

“We need to get these vaccines rolling as quickly as possible so people like me can get them too,” said Darlos Wallinga, a Tampa Bay resident and local dance teacher.

Wallinga is 43 and living with a genetic condition and COPD, making the pandemic all the more stressful for her.

“My life expectancy is already diminished and then if I were to add COVID to that, we don’t know what would happen,” said Wallinga.

She’s hopeful a third vaccine will help people like her get vaccinated faster.

Coming up on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, a CDC advisory committee will meet to set guidelines for who should get the vaccine.

From there, Johnson and Johnson say they plan to ship 20 million doses out by the end of March.