Americans should take any of the three currently approved COVID vaccines they can, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to President Biden, on Monday. Those options include the two-shot regimens developed by Pfizer and Moderna, and the newer one-shot vaccine by Johnson & Johnson. Fauci and other health officials have been working to quash any perceptions that the Johnson & Johnson shot is inferior to the Pfizer and Moderna formulations. Read on to see why the J & J shot works so well—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci says all three vaccines are 100% effective at preventing COVID-related death
Clinical trials found that the Johnson & Johnson shot was 72% effective in preventing mild and moderate COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Earlier trials of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines found they were 94% and 96% effective, respectively.
But experts say those numbers aren’t directly comparable and don’t tell the whole story. Only the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested recently enough to include new variants of the coronavirus. And all three vaccines were found to be 100% effective at preventing COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.
“We have three highly efficacious, safe vaccines that are now available to the American public,” said Fauci during a briefing by the White House COVID-19 response team. “They have not been compared one to the other, which the only way you could effectively do that would be in head-to-head comparisons.”
He added: “If you go into a place and you have a certain vaccine available to you, take that vaccine rather than waiting for another vaccine because all three of them are highly efficacious.”
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1.4 million Johnson & Johnson shots given
Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to Biden’s COVID team, said CDC data doesn’t show that Americans are turning down the Johnson & Johnson shot. “We don’t have reason for concern at this point,” he said.
According to the CDC, as of March 14, 19 million people have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and 17.7 million with Moderna. Slightly more than 1.4 million people have been fully vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Last week, President Biden directed states to make all Americans eligible for vaccination by May 1. He has pledged to have enough vaccine available to vaccinate all eligible Americans by the end of that month. Some states, including Alaska and Mississippi, have already made all of their adult residents eligible.
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How to stay safe during this pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.