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U Health doctor: If you’re offered the J&J vaccine, get it

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY– The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is the latest immune booster slated to be approved for emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Utah is expected to receive 33,000 doses of the vaccine as early as next week.

However, Americans and Utahns alike are concerned about the effectiveness of the vaccine. But one University of Utah Health doctor warns to not get caught up on the efficacy rate between the available vaccines — if the J&J vaccine is what you’re offered, take it. 

In the United States, a J&J analysis found the vaccine to be 72% effective in fighting moderate to severe COVID-19 cases four weeks after getting the shot. It also indicated approximately 82% protection against critical cases of the virus.

Worldwide, the vaccine is 66% effective. 

Dr. Andrew Pavia with the University of Utah Health and Primary Children’s Hospital said he looked over the FDA analysis on the J&J shot and warns Utahns shouldn’t fixate on brand names — just get vaccinated. 

“Each of them is extremely good,” Pavia said. “The biggest difference is the J&J vaccine allows us to get people in for one shot, and they are done, which is a huge benefit in reaching hard-to-reach populations.”

The single-dose shot isn’t less impactful in protecting people from severe cases of COVID-19 and goes through the same rigorous testing as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, according to Pavia. 

“These vaccines have been tested very much the way we test any vaccine we’ve ever done. We’ve just gotten rid of some of the dead space in between the stages, to make it go more quickly,” Pavia said. 

Pavia stated the J&J vaccine will not only provide immunity from the virus but also should stop people from becoming superspreaders. Additionally, Pavia suggested the vaccine gives some protection against silent or asymptomatic infections.

“All three vaccines are very effective against preventing severe disease, and they are almost identical for preventing severe disease, and they almost completely prevent hospitalization and death,” Pavia said.