Family Healthcast: Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — We could have a third vaccine approved in just three weeks from now. It’s the one shot dose from Johnson & Johnson.

On Thursday, Johnson & Johnson asked the FDA for emergency approval on their vaccine.

Much has been made of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being 95% effective in preventing symptomatic illness. That’s a terrific result, but one of the nation’s leading public health doctors said there are the numbers that are even more important:

Out of the more than 30,000 people who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in the final phase of clinical trials, only one person became ill enough to be hospitalized.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 72% effective in the United States, which is far less than the other two vaccines.

But, again look at the crucial measure of hospitalization. The results released thus far show that the single dose vaccine was 85% effective in protecting against severe disease.

And of the thousands in the study, not a single person who received the vaccine was hospitalized or died.

This is particularly striking because this vaccine trial had a site in South Africa, where nearly all cases of COVID-19 were due to infection with the dominant variant there. But again, no one was sick enough to go to the hospital.

Now, things could change as new variants emerge and if more people don’t agree to get vaccinated. But, if we can turn COVID-19 into an illness no more dangerous than the common cold at best and influenza at worst, the fear and isolation could be over. We would be able to resume much of our pre-pandemic lives. We need to stay safe until that happens.

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