BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Another vaccine has been approved for the public. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as millions still await their opportunity to get vaccinated.
Gov. Tate Reeves took to Facebook on Monday to talk about Mississippi’s vaccination progress. Over 400,000 Mississippians have received one dose of their vaccine, but the recently approved J&J vaccine only requires one dose.
Reeves also said that the newest vaccine will be in Mississippi later this week, calling it “game changing.”
Some healthcare workers are fielding questions of concern regarding which vaccine is best. Infectious disease expert Dr. Nicholas Conger hopes the high interest and availability of the new vaccine helps lead to more Mississippians getting vaccinated.
”I think we should welcome anything we have to help combat COVID-19. I know some people are reluctant to go with the other vaccinations, some of which is because they are worried about the second shot,” said Conger. “There are stories about how the second shot causes more side effects, and that’s true so perhaps this will bring in people who are reluctant to go get that second shot.”
There are a few other differences between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and its predecessors. It doesn’t require frozen storage, and no trial participants died or entered the hospital after they received the vaccine.
Those facts seem to have several South Mississippians showing their support for the new vaccine, even with its lower efficacy rating.
”Not quite as effective as the other ones, but I want to remind the listeners that 65 to 75 percent effective vaccine is still an amazingly effective vaccine, better than the flu vaccine year in and year out,” emphasized Conger.
The J&J trials first took place in South Africa with an efficacy rating of 67 percent. In the states, the efficacy rating is hovering at 72 percent, which is much lower than the Moderna and Pfizer rates, which sit in the nineties. Still, company officials are quick to point out that even if one tests positive for COVID after the vaccine, their vaccine vastly prepares your body for the battle. That’s evident by the fact that no one who participated in the trials for the J&J vaccine have even been admitted to the hospital after the vaccination.
“I hope we get some. I know we need some,” said Dr. Jesse Penico with Memorial Hospital. “There’s a shortage throughout the southern states. California and the northern states are getting more and, in some places, the vaccine is going where it’s not being used and having some surplus. So its’s not been weeded out with the greatest accuracy.”