We are all feeling grateful to have a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available to the public finally. In an ideal world, there would be enough vaccine supplies to be provided to everyone right away, we would only need one dose, and the side effects would be nothing more than a sore arm.
Fortunately, that reality might be possible soon. At the end of January, Johnson & Johnson announced it’s working on developing a one-dose vaccine. In a multi-country study, Janssen Pharmaceuticals proved that the new vaccine is 66% protective against moderate to severe COVID-19 infection.
What’s more, is that severe disease alone was reduced by 85%, and it prevents the risk of hospitalizations or deaths. On February 4, Johnson & Johnson announced its application to the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization.
So, later this month or early in March, the vaccine is likely to start being used in the U.S., but it’s not expected to supply substantial numbers of doses until April. Now that there are three developed vaccines, it’s time to compare them.
It’s important to note that due to scarce vaccine supplies, during the initial rollout of the vaccine, individuals are unlikely to have a choice of which vaccine they get. You’ll get whichever vaccine is available at that location.
9. Types of Vaccines and How They Work
Messenger RNA, a technology that delivers genetic code to cells, is used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The result is a recipe to make the surface protein, known as spike proteins, on the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The immune system is activated by the proteins made with the mRNA instructions. The spike proteins are then seen as foreign, and antibodies begin to develop along with other immunity fighting weapons.
The Johnson & Johnson is known as a viral vectored vaccine and works a bit differently. It instructs human cells to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and then triggers an immune response. An adenovirus does the job of carrying the genetic code to make SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins after entering cells.
The harmless adenovirus is from a large family of viruses, some of which cause common colds. J&J used this same approach to make an Ebola vaccine that has been authorized for use by the European Medicines Agency.
8. Target Populations
Different age groups are authorized to receive each vaccine. Currently, those ages 16 and older are cleared to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and if you are 18 and older, you can receive the Moderna vaccine. But Moderna is now testing its vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds. As of now, the J&J vaccine has been tested in people 18 and older, so it also won’t be available for use in children and teens under 18.