February 26, 2021

The best vaccine

Today an FDA Advisory committee on vaccines gave a thumbs up to recommend approval of the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This will be the third vaccine in our arsenal after only a year, a remarkable achievement. It works differently than an mRNA vaccine, using an adenovirus vector that then carries instructions to the cell to make spike proteins and induce an immune response. It has some advantages in that it only requires one dose and also that it doesn’t take extra cold temps to maintain its viability. Soon we will have three choices.

Which is the best? The one you can get is my advice. They are all safe and effective. Access to getting the vaccines has been a hassle for many people, although that is easing as more people in the first groups have received their jabs. With an additional option, more people can get immunized sooner.

Finding a vaccine has been a bit of a jungle, with people who are internet savvy having an advantage over others who are not or don’t have access. This has created controversies across the country, with some counties having their vaccines go to people from out of their area. This has prompted some counties to turn off the “vaccine bot” services due to concerns that their own citizens don’t have access. I don’t blame them, and yet I understand people are anxious to get their vaccines and the process has been challenging.

Sometimes technology helps, like Seattle’s attempt to help prevent wasting of extra vaccines at the end of the day. People can get on the list to get a text at the end of the day when there are extra doses needing to be used, so they are not wasted. If people are in the proper group and are willing to come at a moment’s notice this can get more people up to date without any waste or signs of favoritism.

Other news is that both Pfizer and Moderna are looking at adapting their vaccines to combat the new variants. Moderna just announced their new version. Using slight variations of the mRNA instructions, these will be easier to update and then get approval from the FDA, similar to how the flu vaccine is updated yearly due to its mutations.

Now, if we can help the vaccine hesitant decide to get theirs, more people will be protected.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, all the vaccines are the best.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.