Colorado health officials warn against ‘vaccine shopping’

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — More than 45,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are headed to Colorado this week, and that could mean you’ll get a shot sooner than you expected.

However, many Coloradans tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers they will refuse to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, primarily because of concerns about its efficacy.

Julia Goodwin is among the many people in our state who plan to “vaccine shop,” meaning she’s willing to forgo the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to get one of the alternatives.

“I’m on the fence about getting a vaccine, but if I do it definitely won’t be Johnson and Johnson,” she explained.

Goodwin and others are concerned with results of clinical trials that show the vaccine is only about 66% effective to compared to 94% to 95% efficacy for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“It’s not that I don’t support it. We need to do something, but Johnson & Johnson is just a hard no for me,” Goodwin said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Monday urged Coloradans not to vaccine shop arguing that all of the vaccines that have received FDA approval are safe and effective.

It’s a plea also being echoed by most doctors.

“Whatever opportunity you have to get the vaccine first, take that one,” urged Dr. David Wyles, Denver Health’s Chief of Infectious Disease.

However, at least one local Walmart tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers the opposite is also happening, claiming several people have canceled appointments, wanting to wait for the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to arrive instead of getting the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

“I wouldn’t hold out for the one shot. We know you get a lot of protection after that first shot, and vice versa, I wouldn’t avoid the one shot, Johnson & Johnson, just because on the surface some people worry it’s not as good as the others,” said Wyles.

Wyles and others point out that the statistics are somewhat misleading because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested against variants the other two vaccines were not subjected to. The vaccine was also tested in more countries.

Goodwin isn’t convinced. She survived COVID-19 and is now willing to wait as long as it takes to get a vaccine she trusts.

“There are people who need something rather than nothing. I’m just not one of those people,” she said.

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