A&M expert: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has “more advantages than disadvantages”

“It’s better to have 66% vaccine than no vaccine,” according to Texas A&M School of Public Health Regents and Distinguished Professor Marcia Ory.
Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 5:20 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is expected to ask the FDA for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine this week.

The shot only requires a single dose which would make it the first single-dose vaccine available in the U.S. The vaccine has been demonstrated to be 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe disease in a global phase 3 trial, but 85% effective against severe disease. The vaccine was 72% effective against moderate and severe disease in the U.S.

While those numbers do not sound as promising as the >90% efficacy demonstrated in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, experts are encouraged by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Including Marcia Ory, a Regents and Distinguished Professor in the Texas A&M School of Public Health.

Ory calls the Johnson & Johnson vaccine a partial success.

“It gives us another vaccine that people can utilize,” Ory explains, “and particularly people in the Brazos Valley where vaccines have been particularly limited.”

She says despite a lower efficacy, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a number of upsides including only requiring a single dose, ease of distribution, and quicker manufacturing rate.

“We really want to get as many people vaccinated as we can,” Ory says, “so it’s another way of protecting our community.”

She says any amount of immunity is better than no immunity. Ory explains that because the vaccine can both be made and transported far more easily, it will expand access to any vaccine across the nation. She says that’s vitally important right now.

“You obviously want the vaccine that’s the most effective,” Ory says, “and also works with the largest population.”

She says each of the vaccines available has positives and negatives. Ory explains that the increased number of options among them allows health officials to better target the right vaccine for the right demographic. She adds that no one vaccine is inherently better than another.

Ory says the vaccines with high efficacy rates tend to be much more difficult to mass-produce and transport.

“You have to look at what the needs are and what you’re going for,” Ory says.

But she says you probably shouldn’t be too worried about which vaccine you receive.

“The real question is: Am I gonna get a vaccine? Yes? No?” Ory explains, “and then the choice is if it’s available, people will want the vaccine that’s the most effective.”

She says the latter part of that thought really won’t come into play until mid-summer when COVID-19 vaccines are more widely available in the Brazos Valley.

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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