ADPH: Don’t vaccine shop, take first vaccine you’re offered

Scott Harris vaccine update

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Pending a hearing Friday, Americans could have access to a third COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next month.

We looked into if one vaccine was better than the other.

State health officer, Doctor Scott Harris said it doesn’t matter which one, just get one. He said there is not enough vaccine to go around to be picky but wanted to reassure each vaccine offers some level of protection.

Health officials are anticipating the FDA to approve emergency use authorization, making Johnson and Johnson the third covid-19 vaccine available in the United States. “We think we will probably know about J&J within three days or so,” said Doctor Scott Harris. “We hope to know by the first of the week.”

Doctor Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the single-dose vaccine will be an easier-to-use vaccine to help tame the pandemic. “One shot opens up a lot of doors for us. A lot of logistical problems get solved by having a single dose vaccine.”

Harris said J&J is 72% effective in preventing infection, compared to Pfizer’s and Moderna’s 95% efficacy rate. “In terms of preventing serious illness and hospitalization and preventing death, they are all three equivalents. All three in fact are identical. No one who got the J&J vaccine died from COVID, in fact no one who had the J&J vaccine had an allergic reaction like we saw with the mRNA vaccine.”

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were ready to roll out the same day the FDA approved emergency use. If approved, the J&J vaccine is not pre-positioned throughout the country. The Alabama Department of Public Health will have to place an order.

“A million doses in the United States pool we get around 15 thousand of them. That is the best guess-estimate on our part as far as what we might be receiving. J&J has committed to producing 100 million doses by June.”

Doctor Harris emphasizes the best vaccine you can get is the one that you can get a hold of first.

“There is not enough vaccine to go around for people to pick and choose right now. If you have the opportunity to take a vaccine no matter what it is that is what you should take because you don’t know when your next opportunity will come around to take a vaccine.”

As of Thursday, eligibility is still limited in the state of Alabama. You must be 65 years or older, a front-line health care worker, or someone the ADPH has labeled an essential worker.

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