PHOENIX — Public health experts are calling the now fully approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine a game changer as it makes its way to our state this week. But some remain skeptical due to its lower efficacy rate compared to Pfizer and Moderna.
“As soon as the vaccine’s available, I definitely want to get it,” said David Epstein.
Epstein, 60, is a sales rep for a small software company. It’s been a year since he’s been able to make any deals through face-to-face contact. It's something that clearly impacts his livelihood despite the advent of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms.
“Waiting for the vaccine means that we probably won’t attend our first trade show until August,” said Epstein. "We're making it work, but it's hard to develop those personal relationships over video."
Like many others, news of a third vaccine has him looking to the future. He’s still waiting for his group to be called, but when it does, what type of vaccine he gets won’t make a difference to him.
“I want to protect my family and myself from long-term effects,” said Epstein. "I'll take whatever I can get."
“With only one shot, you can get 72 percent protection,” said Dr. Andrew Carroll.
Dr. Andrew Carroll says while that number is more than 20 percent lower than Pfizer and Moderna, the real number that matters focuses on severe illness and death.
“It’s 100 percent effective against hospitalization and ICU admissions,” said Dr. Carroll.
Meaning if you do get the virus, the symptoms are mild or nonexistent. The state expects to get their hands on around 50 to 60,000 doses this week; many of which will end up in more rural communities.
“We can keep it in a refrigerator for two months, we can keep it in a freezer for up to two years, so it’s easier to transport, it’s easier to get into doctors' offices, pharmacies, rural communities,” said Dr. Carroll.
Doctors are advising everyone, no matter which vaccine is offered to you, take it.
“The goal is to make it so people don’t die, and hopefully don’t get so sick that they end up in the hospital, and all three vaccines guarantee that,” said Dr. Carroll.