Johnson & Johnson vaccine: exactly how is it different?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine might mark a turning point in the pandemic.

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may 03, 2021

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Photo: Getty pictures

Updated might 3, 2021. In keeping with the recent decision by the CDC and also FDA,VCU Health has lifted the temporary pause it inserted on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.We are now administering all 3 vaccines -- Pfizer, Moderna and also Johnson & Johnson.This content is specific as the the update date.For the many up-to-date information on this topic,please visit theVCU health and wellness COVID-19 vaccine page.

By James Shea

Millions of civilization have got the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in the joined States, but now there"s a new kid ~ above the block. The Food and also Drug administration has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because that emergency use, making it the third vaccine accessible in the U.S.

Here,Dr. Michael Stevens,associate chair that the division of transmittable Diseases at the VCU institution of Medicine, describes the differences in between the 3 vaccines and the benefits of the brand-new one indigenous Johnson & Johnson.

What is the difference between how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works and also how the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work?

The ultimate difference is the method the instructions room delivered. The Moderna and also Pfizer vaccines usage mRNA technology, and also the Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides the much more traditional virus-based technology.

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mRNA is essentially a tiny piece of password that the vaccine it is intended to her cells. The password serves together an instruction hand-operated for her immune system, teaching it to identify the virus that causes COVID-19 and also attack it, have to it conference the real thing.

Instead of making use of mRNA, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a disabled adenovirus to provide the instructions. This adenovirus is in no method related come the coronavirus. That is a fully different virus. Although it can deliver the instructions on exactly how to defeat the coronavirus, the can’t replicate in her body and also will not offer you a viral infection.

Are there services to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, based upon its technology?

Absolutely. The vast advantage to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the it is a single shot. The mRNA vaccine requires two.

As well, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have the right to be maintained at basically refrigerator temperatures because that months, and it’s stable. The mRNA vaccines aren’t as stable and also require supervisor cold storage temperatures. As soon as they’re the end of cold storage, you only have a small window of time to administer them.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is much an ext like a continuous vaccine and is much simpler to distribute and maintain. The has large implications because that rural areas of the country. Those areas might not have actually the capacity to save the mRNA vaccines at super cold temperatures.

Aren’t cold storage and also stability some of the factors the rollout the the vaccine has actually been a challenge?

We have the volume in a most the U.S. To acquire the cold warehouse mRNA vaccines out, yet it have the right to be a difficulty in landscape areas. As soon as you begin talking about a vaccine that is more stable and also only requires a single shot, this is great news. The less complicated it is to give, the more people we’re going come vaccinate in the U.S. Yet this is additionally true internationally, where transferring a tricky mRNA vaccine have the right to be a difficulty in some locations due come the cold storage requirements.

I’ve heard the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is less effective than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Her thoughts?

We have actually really excellent ourselves a disservice with exactly how wildly reliable the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are. No one is going to say they don’t want a highly effective vaccine. We room all grateful, but at the begin of the pandemic if you stated you to be going to create a 60% effective vaccine, that would have been past most people’s wildest dreams. Compare that to the flu , which can be 50% come 60% reliable some years.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was uncovered to it is in 72% reliable at avoiding moderate to severe instances of COVID-19. Across the board, the was around 66%. Ns think part of the reason is since it was studied later in the pandemic. Currently there are much more of these variants out there. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was less effective in southern Africa, where among the variants has appeared. It to be 57% in southern Africa. Ns think if you were to test the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines now, they could be less effective since of the variants.

Isn’t a main advantage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the you’re much less likely to gain severely ill indigenous COVID-19?

In the study population of virtually 44,000 people, few of whom got a placebo and also didn’t obtain the vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be 85% effective in avoiding hospitalizations and death. Even if the vaccine wasn’t 100% reliable at preventing disease, that looks like it reduces significant disease. The is yes, really what you want from a vaccine.

Can those who’ve obtained the vaccine quiet transmit the virus?

We don’t know, yet you have to number if someone has less virus, they might not transmit it as effectively. This might slow down the variety of additional cases. The is yes, really the idea through a vaccine, however nobody knows that for sure. The is the hope.

There will certainly still be civilization who gain sick, especially since there space so plenty of cases. People are quiet going to should wear masks and also socially distance. It’s no a passport come go ago to common living. If friend are, in theory, one of the 5% who acquired the Pfizer vaccine and still gained COVID-19, you might still transmit the virus come people, and also they could get at sight sick.

Can I pick which vaccine ns get?

We aren’t there yet. That won’t be feasible in the brief term. I would certainly say gain what friend can obtain when other becomes available to you. I really don’t think civilization should wait. If you have accessibility to get any type of vaccine, girlfriend should acquire it. Also if the doesn’t fully prevent it, you are much less likely to have severe condition and die. Possibly you’re simply at home and also feel destructive as protest to having to be admitted to the hospital through low oxygen. Hospitals and clinics space going to be restricted in the quick term top top what they can administer folks.

These vaccines are safe, right?

If it has emergency usage authorization indigenous the FDA, it has been organized to a an extremely high security standard. These vaccine trials have had just massive amounts of patients. Over there have gone to least 30,000 patient in each one of these trials, and also Johnson & Johnson’s had actually 43,000 people. There were no injury signals in the Johnson & Johnson trials.

We have a few reports of feasible severe adverse results from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Reports of severe adverse results are gift monitored and investigated closely. We still have to collect long-term safety data. For any immediate issues, those are usually built up in the vaccine trials. We have actually months of data now that present the vaccines room safe.

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