FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Boxes of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine are now being shipped across the country. Nearly four million doses of the one-dose vaccine are ready to ship this week, just days after it was approved for use.
The state now has days to figure out who will get the J&J vaccine. Should it go to the mass vaccination sites? Smaller sites? Should it go to the homeless community? These are some of the proposals. What do folks getting the vaccine think? Do they have a preference?
We found Auburn resident Kathy Hair sitting in her car alone, waiting for her husband to get his first dose.
“In the beginning days when they had a few extra, if you waited long enough, they took a few people in,” said Hair. “I got mine at WSU. We waited in a long line on a freezing day. They took 13 extra people, and my husband was number 14, so he just missed out.”
But lucky number 13 said she didn’t care which vaccine they got.
“I got the Pfizer. I believe Steve is getting Moderna,” she said.
With Johnson & Johnson’s Emergency Use Authorization, Massachusetts will soon have three different choices. So, which one should you choose?
Let’s compare. First, their efficacy. We’ll call this one a tie between Moderna and Pfizer, both right around 95 percent. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said she hears the concerns about J&J, since it is slightly less effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms. But, she said that doesn’t matter as much.
“It’s almost 100% effective against hospitalization, severe illness, and death, and that works for me,” said Sudders.
She said that all the vaccines have far better efficacy than the flu vaccine given every year.
When it comes to wait time, Pfizer wins.
“Three weeks for me. He’s here getting Moderna, it’s a four-week wait,” said Hair.
But when it comes to convenience, it’s J&J by a landslide, since it only requires one shot.
“In my mind, they’re all about the same, but one shot would have been a lot easier,” said Jan Polanik of Grafton. “Now we have to drive 45 minutes to get here.”
So, now that you know, which one do you want?
“I didn’t care. Whatever I could get was fine with me,” said his wife, Joyce.
Good answer. Health professionals all say choose the first one available. Still, Secretary Sudders said she knows there will be some concerns about who gets J&J. She thinks there may be a solution.
“It is our thought that one or two mass vaccination sites are the perfect place for J&J for several reasons,” said Sudders. “It completely removes the equity concern that people may have that J&J go to certain places, and people can choose whether or not they want to go to a mass vax site.”
She says this way everyone can be a winner.
“I don’t have a preference,” said Hair. “I think it will cover it that we won’t be hospitalized, so I’m happy.”
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