POST 121. January 30, 2021. CORONVIRUS. Will our communities become stratified by which vaccine is distributed? 95%ters v. 72%ters? Will the easier distribution of the J&J vaccine drive its use in ”hard-hit, marginalized, and medically underserved communities.” (thanx! to XJ/LA)

“On January 15, President Biden and his administration unveiled the outline for a national COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which seeks to address challenges faced by local governments in distributing the vaccine. This five-part plan outlines key actions that the Biden Administration will work to take at the federal level to aid the efficient and equitable vaccination of U.S. residents. Such actions include: Increasing the number of vaccinations by encouraging states to open vaccine availability to other priority groups and ensuring an equitable distribution by targeting resources to hard-hit, marginalized, and medically underserved communities.” (A)

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“So once January 20th comes and you (Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith). become chair of President Biden’s COVID-19 equity task force, what specifically will you be focusing on? What will your job entail?

One of the priorities is getting from vaccines to vaccination, and having a strategy where everyone in our country who wants a vaccine can get one, with equitable and timely access. That’s going to be a really high priority for us in the first 100 days. We need a whole-of-government approach to this [pandemic], and we have to prioritize both our response and our recovery, with things like PPE, testing, and vaccines.” (B)

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 single-shot vaccine was shown to be 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe disease in a global Phase 3 trial, but 85% effective against severe disease, the company announced Friday.

The vaccine was 72% effective against moderate and severe disease in the US, the company said.

It’s a striking difference from vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, and it may give pause to people uncertain about which vaccine to get or when they can get one. The vaccines already on the market in the US are about 95% effective overall against symptomatic Covid-19, with perhaps even higher efficacy against severe cases…

Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, said that under normal circumstances, there might not be much of a market for a vaccine that is significantly less effective than two others already on the market. But he added that these are not normal times, with a pandemic raging and shortage of vaccines.

Pfizer and Moderna both use genetic technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA technology. Johnson & Johnson uses a weakened common cold virus, known as adenovirus, to carry genetic instructions into the body to prompt an immune response.

“In a better world, we would have abundant quantities of this messenger RNA vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna, and that would be damning for a vaccine that’s clearly less effective. But that said, we have limited quantities of mRNA vaccine,” Offit said.

Offit has been vaccinated, but said if he had not, he would first search out a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and then if he couldn’t find one in reasonable period of time, he would take a Johnson & Johnson vaccine if it was available. Offit said getting one brand of vaccine and later on getting a different vaccine should not pose safety issues.

“I would make an effort to get an mRNA vaccine first,” Offit said. “Not being able to get it, and knowing I might not be able to get Pfizer or Moderna for many months, and knowing this virus is still ranging across the country, I would take J&J in the secure knowledge that I could get Pfizer or Moderna later.” (C)

“What are the added benefits of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the market?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot versus the two doses required from other vaccine companies. This means that more people could be vaccinated quicker and with fewer doses.

“An efficacious one-dose, easy to transport vaccine is huge,” tweeted statistician Natalie Dean,

The vaccine also requires cold-storage requirements, making it easier for countries to access and handle the vials.

It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to three months at 36 degrees F to 46 degrees F, the company said in its press release. Pfizer, in comparison, requires a special deep freezer for its vaccine and dry ice when transporting….

“In other words, we could bring the vaccine to the people,” Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist, told CNN, “rather than bringing the people to the vaccine.”…

Another benefit of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine? The company has the manufacturing capacity to “create doses in the billions,” Dr Fauci said. “This has important potential and real implications domestically and globally.”

Many experts have reached the consensus, though, that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at its current point was a good option for people if Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine were not available.

“We’re going to be learning a lot about these vaccines over the course of the next three to six months,” Dr Osterholm told CNN. “We’ll have to keep sorting this out. Not sorting out to look at safety. Not sorting it to look at whether you should get it or not. Get it. But we’re going to be constantly re-evaluating it. What’s the best way to protect the most people over time? And that may be that you will be getting a booster dose on a routine basis with one or more vaccines. So I know it’s confusing right now, but I think, get your first dose now. Protect as many people as possible.”…

The US federal government has purchased 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnsons vaccine. The company said it would fulfil all of those doses to the United States by June if it were to receive emergency use authorisation.” (D)

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