The Johnson & Johnson vaccine differs from the currently available COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in a few ways. First, it is given in a single dose. Additionally, this vaccine uses a common cold virus, to introduce the spike proteins of COVID-19 into our cells, thereby evoking an immune response. It is important to understand that this is an altered form of the common cold virus that cannot cause any harm or multiply, so no one will get sick from it. This common cold virus has been used in this same way for other vaccines, as well, with no problems. Another difference between this vaccine and the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna is that it does not require such cold temperatures to transport and store unlike the mRNA vaccines. This makes the Johnson and Johnson vaccine less complicated for hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies to handle.
The results from Johnson & Johnson large clinical trials indicate that the vaccine has an efficacy of 72% in the United States arm of the trial, and 85% when they looked at specifically its ability to prevent serious illness overall. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will work well to prevent COVID-19, and especially well to prevent serious illness from developing.
On April 23 2021, the FDA and CDC lifted the recommended pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (which was found to cause rare blood clots) after a thorough safety review.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) – a group that advises the CDC on issues related to vaccination in the United States – reviewed all of the available data regarding the cases of blood clots that was reported after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They determined that the number of cases were extremely small compared to the number of Johnson & Johnson vaccines that have been given. This means that the risk of blood clots is very low. For this reason, the vaccine is no longer paused and can continue to be distributed.
If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are advised to monitor for severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath occurring within three weeks after vaccination, and should contact your local health care provider for evaluation right away if such symptoms occur.
If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have not developed any of the side effects associated with signs of blood clots, as noted above, within three weeks after vaccination, the risk of an adverse reaction is unlikely.Read this release for more information.