Let’s look at the J&J vaccine data and let me tell you why it’s NOT a second class vaccine. Have you heard people say that? I have. I’ve heard people not wanting J&J because it’s “inferior” to the other vaccines due to lower efficacy rates. Let me show you why it’s just as amazing as the other vaccines and may be even more desirable for some of you who only want one shot. My shot. (see what I did there…sorry, can’t stop with Hamilton).🥳
✅ Ok, here we go. The overall trial of the J&J vaccine had 43,783 people above 18 years of age. 40% had comorbidities.
◾ 1. Look at the Figure 1 picture showing the blue and red lines. See the split at day 14? That’s the boss-antibodies during their job. Remember it takes 14 days to start having protection from the vaccines – which is why you can’t go partay-central 30 minutes post vaccine. Patience!
◾ 2. The split continues to diverge even more when you get to 28 days and onward.
◾ 3. The overall efficacy in the trial was 67% at 14 days and 66% at 28 days. This did NOT differ by age, sex, race, or comorbidity. The efficacy against severe disease was 100% (more on that below).
◾ 4. Side effects included those seen in the Pfizer and Moderna trials – but the J&J vaccine had slightly lower number of side effects. Headache (38%), fatigue (38%), muscle aches (33%), nausea (14%), and fever (9%).
◾ 5. No reports of anaphlyaxis.
✅ My big take-aways:
◾ 1. The J&J vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine which is different than the mRNA vaccines. Go here if you want the science: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine.html
◾ 2. Similar to the mRNA vaccines, the J&J vaccine does not contain eggs, latex, preservatives. Here’s the full list of ingredients: https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download
◾ 3. The J&J vaccine prevented ALL severe cases of COVID-19, including COVID-19 related deaths. This is big to me and we saw similar results with the mRNA vaccines. This highlights the protection all authorized vaccines can give us in preventing severe cases that require hospitalizations or lead to death.
◾ 4. The dose is only one shot (compared to 2 with the mRNA vaccines). Storage is easier too since it doesn’t require the super cold temps like the mRNA vaccines.
◾ 5. The 1-shot vaccine PLUS easier storage AND great efficacy makes a great combination for a vaccine to reach vulnerable populations in the globe. And, for people who want one-and-done or don’t like needles.
◾ 6. Drum-roll please to the big takeaway – At Day 29, the vaccine had 74% efficacy against asymptomatic infection. Web-peeps, this is what many of you have been asking about with vaccines. “If I get the vaccine, it will protect me but will it protect others by preventing transmission?” With J&J, at day 29 onward the answer is yes.
◾ 7. Lastly, I want to talk about the thought that this vaccine is “not as good” as the mRNA ones. We need to remember that anything over 50% efficacy is really good in the vaccine world. Some of our yearly influenza vaccines are in the 50-60% range. So, the 70% range of J&J and the 90% range of Pfizer/Moderna are both really good. All 3 vaccines also prevent severe disease.
◾ 8. Another reason why the efficacy for the J&J might be lower than the mRNA vaccines is the different time periods. J&J’s trial started later when the new variants were ramping up. So, we really need a head-to-head trial of all vaccines against the new variants.
◾ 9. Over 2.4 million doses of J&J have been administered so far.
✅ Bottom line is the vaccine works really well against the variants, protects against severe disease, prevents asymptomatic transmission after day 29, is safe, and is one shot.
Cue the song. =)
J&J trial results: https://www.fda.gov/media/146219/download
FDA review of J&J vaccine: https://www.fda.gov/media/146217/download
How the J&J vaccine works and timeline of development: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine.html
J&J vaccine recommendations from faith leaders: https://www.facebook.com/friendlyneighborepidemiologist/posts/261509735471683