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In a perfect world, the COVID-19 vaccine would be delivered in one dose so that a majority of the population could receive treatment without delay. Fortunately, this hope is becoming more of a reality with the announcement of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, set to be distributed for the first time this week. Take a look at the vaccines currently available and how they will compare with this new treatment.

The race to distribute a safe and effective vaccine has been ongoing since COVID-19 made its appearance in 2020. Get to know the differences between the most popular vaccines that have been approved as of now. Click To Tweet

Important Vaccine Considerations

Ever since the coronavirus became a global pandemic, scientists and researchers across the world have been working extremely hard to find a cure. While each research lab has used a different method of identifying the virus, the goal has remained the same: create a vaccine that would eliminate symptoms with minimal side effects and overall cost.

In this article, we will identify the three vaccines that have been approved for distribution in the United States. These vaccines have been designed to fight against the original strain of the virus, not the new South African version. According to Moderna, researchers have identified this issue and are in the process of deciding whether an entirely new vaccine needs to be created to combat the South African strain.

While each of the available vaccines may vary in dosage or price, it’s important to note that you may not be able to have a choice of which vaccine you receive. Since the United States is still within the initial phase of the rollout, supplies are too scarce and only certain clinics have been approved to administer the shots. Discover the differences between the following coronavirus vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

PFIZER

Authorized on December 11, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was created from the messenger RNA (mRNA). This technology helps deliver genetic code to cells, helping to make elements of the SARS-2 virus. Once injected, the vaccine is designed to get the cells to churn out the spike protein, triggering the body’s immune system to guard against the virus.

Fast Facts

  • Storage Temperature: -94 degrees F, which requires specialized freezers
  • Doses: 2, 21 Days Apart
  • Efficacy: About 95%
  • Possible Side Effects: Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, and chills
  • Additional Info: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/12/a-guide-to-pfizer-biontechs-covid-19-vaccine/

MODERNA

Like Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine was created using mRNA and requires two different doses, a primer and a booster shot to be effective at preventing symptoms related to coronavirus. After being authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 19, 2020, it began to roll out in various parts of the country. 

Fast Facts

  • Storage Temperature: 36 to 46 degrees F, about the temperature of a standard home or medical refrigerator
  • Doses: 2, 28 Days Apart
  • Efficacy: About 95%
  • Possible Side Effects: Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, and chills
  • Additional Info: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/12/a-guide-to-modernas-covid-19-vaccine/

JOHNSON & JOHNSON

Compared to the mRNA vaccines, Johnson & Johnson used a different approach to guard against SARS-2 proteins in your body. J&J’s vaccine was created from what is known as a viral vectored vaccine, where human cells are instructed to make the SARS-2 spike protein, which then triggers an immune response. This approach has been used in a number of vaccines across the years, including the Ebola vaccine from the early 2000s.

In addition, J&J’s vaccine stands out as the only single-dose vaccine that doesn’t require special storage and has shown to be 66% effective. While it has not become widely available yet, it is currently set to be one of the more versatile vaccines available.

As of March 4, 2021, Pasadena Health Center is expected to be receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine once it is shipped, but we have not been informed of a specific date and time. Contact our office for the most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine availabillity.

Fast Facts

  • Storage Temperature: It can be stored for at least three months at the temperature of a regular refrigerator
  • Doses: Single-dose
  • Efficacy: Still being tested in clinical trials; some studies show 66% effectiveness
  • Possible Side Effects: Injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and nausea
  • Additional Info: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/janssen-covid-19-vaccine

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

According to a recent study, vaccine development can usually take anywhere from 10-15 years. From research to testing and deployment, the process is complex and must meet certain safety regulations. This raises the question, then, in regard to the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. If history has shown that vaccines were created in over ten years, how can we trust these three vaccines after one year’s time?

The answer to this question was highlighted in a study published by John Hopkins Medicine journal. According to medical experts, “Even though the coronavirus vaccines were developed more quickly than other vaccines in the past, they have been carefully tested and continue to be monitored. The U.S. vaccine safety system works to make sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety has been a top priority as federal agencies work with vaccine manufacturers to develop and authorize a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Should I Rush to Make An Appointment?

As supplies grow, the opportunities for families to get vaccinated are becoming more available. While vaccines are completely voluntary, understanding your risk and environment are two major factors when considering whether or not you should get vaccinated. According to the CDC, if you answer yes to any of the following questions, it’s highly recommended that you schedule an appointment.

  • Are you a frontline worker such as a firefighter, police officer, corrections officers, food or agricultural worker, United States Postal Service worker, manufacturing worker, grocery store worker, public transit worker, and or school educator?
  • Are you older than the age of 65?
  • If you’re between the ages of 16-64, do you have any underlying medical conditions that would cause concern from COVID-19?

Choose Pasadena Health Center

Your family’s health is our priority. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have remained committed to providing you with resources to keep your family informed about how to prevent moderate to severe symptoms from the coronavirus. As always, we encourage you to continue to social distance, wear a mask, and self-isolate if you begin experiencing any virus symptoms.

Contact us to receive more information about the coronavirus vaccine or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.