WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA — Are you holding out for one specific COVID-19 vaccine? Health experts say you shouldn’t, for several reasons.
Like many people, 64-year-old Lauren Rosen has been on the fence about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. "Everybody has been bugging me. I don’t work, I play tennis and everybody is getting them and a lot of my friends are nurses and they’re all saying, oh, you should do it, you should do it. And I'm getting a lot of pressure to do it," she said.
Rosen said she’s leaning toward getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, partly because it’s one shot and she’s done.
Others said they don’t want the J&J vaccine because it was 66% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections during clinical trials, while Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had more than 90% effectiveness.
"The analogy is, if you’re running a marathon in Boston versus Tennessee versus Denver and the weather is different in each place, you can’t compare the times," said Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious disease specialist.
Bush is the principal investigator for the AstraZeneca trial and J&J two-dose trial. "At the beginning of the trial when there were less infected people and there were less variants in this country, the Moderna and Pfizer trials did not come up against those type of virus strains," Bush said.
The J&J one-shot is highly appealing for people who want to build antibodies quickly - 28 days after your first injection, you’re protected, while Moderna and Pfizer require the booster shot.
But Bush said clinical trials for a second J&J dose have just wrapped up. "The purpose of the two-dose was always there alongside the one-dose trial to see if a booster would be more beneficial with J&J or if a one-dose is good as it is," Bush said. "Going forward we will find out, was there one better than the other? I would advise people, get whichever vaccine you can get as quickly as you can get it."
The federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website says that "the best COVID-19 vaccine is the first one that is available to you. Do not wait for a specific brand." The CDC states that all three current vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce a person's risk of severe illness. The CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another.