Colorado professor says he wishes he had the Johnson and Johnson vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — On Wednesday the FDA said Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. This could help pave the way for its approval for emergency use after a meeting on Friday.

Data shows the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is 66% effective at preventing COVID illness. That’s compared to about 95% effectiveness with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“There are some potential reasons for that. This was being done at a time when the virus load was considerably higher. There was an increase in the variants,” said Ross Kedl, a professor of immunology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Kedl says there is some very promising data about the Johnson and Johnson option.

“It’s equally effective at keeping you alive,” he said. “They also came out with some really good data that it actually seems to prevent transmission.”

Kedl says he received the Moderna vaccine through a clinical trial. But says, “My preference would have been the J and J vaccine, actually. That’s the one I would have preferred to have taken.”

He believes the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will develop a balanced immune response and could possibly have stronger durability. Plus, the side effects may not be as bad.

“Its side effect profile is considerably less. The mRNA vaccines — like I said — I had the Moderna vaccine, and the second, that boost hits you a bit like a truck,” he said.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, as opposed to two, and it does not need to be kept at ultra-cold temperatures.

“These vaccines have a much better shelf life. So, there are some advantages there in terms of shipping and distribution,” Kedl said. 

Getting more vaccines into arms, Kedl said, will benefit everyone.

“That will help really I think shove the overall case load through the floor, and provide broad, society-wide protection,” Kedl said.

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