What you need to know about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine – WHYY

Where can I get the J&J vaccine in our region?

States and cities in our region received their first shipments at the end of last week. Delaware has received 8,000 doses. Pennsylvania has received 94,000 doses, and pharmacies in the state were allocated another 30,000. Philadelphia, which receives its own allocation, has received 13,000 doses. New Jersey has received about 75,000 doses.

The states do not expect another shipment for at least three weeks.

Delaware operated mass vaccination sites over the weekend in Delaware City and Seaford for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Five thousand doses were earmarked for people over 65 who were already on the states vaccine waiting list. Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center also began administering it over the weekend. Supply of this vaccine is currently limited, and its not known how the federal government will allocate it to the state, pharmacies, and other providers.

Philadelphia will allocate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to hospitals and community providers that can administer it to hard-to-reach populations. Pennsylvania school districts are working with the National Guard to set up vaccination sites for teachers and staff.

In New Jersey, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed to places such as Acme, ShopRite, and Wegmans supermarket pharmacies, as well as independent pharmacies in the most vulnerable communities. Hospitals will use the vaccine in emergency rooms, which often see vulnerable populations.

Wherry, from the University of Pennsylvania, said members of the public should not get too caught up with registering for one particular vaccine, and should accept whatever they can get.

Its much more important to get vaccinated than pick your type of vaccine based on something youve heard, he said. Right now, the scientific data is that all three of these vaccines are excellent, they will all protect you from the most severe consequences from disease, from being hospitalized, they will likely all prevent you from spreading disease and allow you to get back to more normal activities sooner.

Will authorization of the J&J vaccine help speed up the process?

Officials say theyre hopeful the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will speed up the process because it requires only one dose. The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it anticipated there would be enough vaccines for all adults in the United States by the end of May as opposed to the end of July, the previous forecast.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses, which can take about six weeks to complete. In addition, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has simpler storage requirements, which means it can be distributed to much wider geographic locations.

A single dose also could mean a much simpler distribution process, because providers dont have to worry about follow-up and tracking patients, or run the risk of giving someones second dose to the wrong person.

What about side effects?

Side effects are slightly milder and less commonly reported than with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The most common side effects are fever and fatigue.

I think its important to distinguish side effects from adverse events. Adverse events are things a drug causes that are unintended and are usually detrimental. The adverse-event profile of all these vaccines is excellent. Its very infrequent that someone has an allergic reaction to Pfizer and Moderna, Wherry said. He stressed that these vaccines are, in fact, designed to produce side effects.

The side effects that were seeing with the vaccination are a reflection of your immune response working. It doesnt necessarily mean stronger side effects are giving you better protection from disease. But it does tell you that your immune response is engaged and is starting to do something in response to the vaccination.

Wherry added that when you have chills and a fever for 24 hours, its not pleasant, but it is a sign your immune response is responding to the vaccine and an indicator that youre generating lasting antibodies that will protect you in the future.

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What you need to know about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine - WHYY

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