As all three COVID-19 vaccines are available to more members of the public, it is important to understand how the new vaccine works against the COVID-19 virus to make an educated decision to take the vaccine.
It is important to note that neither the Moderna, Pfizer, or Janssen vaccine contains a live Covid-19 virus. Last month, the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson was issued FDA emergency authorization. Currently, there is no FDA-approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
Unlike the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the genetic material in the Janssen vaccine contains DNA and is given through an adenovirus, or modified virus to deliver the instructions to the human cells to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, according to reports.
The RNA and DNA in all three vaccines serve the same purpose. Encoding for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein is found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. This spike protein is crucial in penetrating human cells and allowing the first steps of infection. Because the spike protein is foreign to the body, the immune system will attack it with T-cells and antibodies. All three vaccines rely on T-cells, known as memory cells, to recognize the spike protein again if the body became infected with the COVID-19 virus, thus providing protection to COVID-19.
The efficacy of the new Janssen vaccine has raised some concerns in taking the vaccine. The Janssen trials were conducted in South America, Brazil, and the U.S. Globally the Janssen vaccine has an efficacy rate of 66 percent against moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and a 72 percent efficacy in the U.S during clinical trials, according to reports.
The vaccine had a 100 percent efficacy rate against hospitalizations and death in those that were vaccinated and an 85 percent efficacy rate for severe symptoms that required medical intervention, but no hospitalization.
Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Janssen vaccine trials were held during peaks of COVID-19 and among variants. Officials, claim it is difficult to compare the vaccine to the Moderna and Pfizer since those in the trials would have been more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during that time. Additionally, the Janssen vaccine holds protection against one of the identified variants of COVID-19, B.1.351 in South Africa.
Being given the option of which vaccine will be administered is seldom, and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control is stating that if you are given the option to get a vaccine to take whichever one you can get.