FDA could soon approve third COVID vaccine, local expert explains differences between each one


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The FDA is expected to meet this week for the next step in approving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. If approved, this would be the third coronavirus vaccine on the market. Currently, the two approved vaccines are Moderna and Pfizer.

“Both of them are MRNA vaccines – or messenger RNA vaccines – and they’re both highly effective, listed between 94 and 95 percent protective against COVID,” explained infectious disease expert Dr. John Crane.

Both vaccines must also be stored at freezing temperatures – Pfizer’s must be kept in an ultra low temp freezer. They also require two doses.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be the first single-dose coronavirus vaccine, but has a lower efficiency rate than the other two at roughly 66 percent. It also doesn’t need to be stored frozen, but just kept in a refrigerator and kept cool.

Dr. Crane said people may experience side effects with any of the vaccines similar to the flu. Debi Hutchinson of Collins says she dealt with side effects the day after her second dose.

“I had chills, I was so cold. I had a fever – I took my temperature probably around five, six o’clock when I got out of bed and it was around 101. [I had] nausea – it felt like I had the flu,” Hutchinson said. “I’d rather go through what I went through though than to come down with the coronavirus.”

Deborah Anderson also got the Moderna vaccine, but unlike Hutchinson, the Angola resident had no side effects.

“I was prepared to feel lousy for a couple days. I was all ready for it,” Anderson said. “I kept waiting and waiting and nothing happened.”

Dr. Crane said regardless if you feel side effects or not, the vaccine is effective.

“We need a strong vaccine to fight a very strong viral infection,” he told News 4.

On Wednesday, FDA staff members have endorsed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A committee is expected to meet Friday in the next step to review the company’s request for emergency use.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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