Update May 4, 2021
Update March 15, 2021
Update March 3, 2021
The following information was provided locally by Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center
FAQs on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
Note: Information is subject to change. This document is current as of March 3, 2021.
Johnson & Johnson and Janssen co-developed a new COVID-19 vaccine. While Johnson & Johnson is the name most know this new vaccine by, it was actually co-developed by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. Therefore, patients who receive this vaccine will see Janssen in their medical record, not Johnson & Johnson. The one-dose vaccine is safe and effective in preventing hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 with no serious safety concerns.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes, similar to the Moderna vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe for people age 18 and older (the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use in people aged 16 years or older). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found it to be safe and effective, and they authorized it for emergency use on Feb. 27, 2021. According to Johnson & Johnson, it offers complete protection against hospitalization and death as a result of the virus.
Is the one-dose vaccine as effective as the Moderna or Pfizer?
The one-dose vaccine is effective and can protect people from COVID-19. All three vaccines are 100 percent effective in preventing COVID-19-related hospitalization and death once fully vaccinated. All three vaccines are also extremely effective in preventing symptomatic or severe cases of the virus.
Protection from the vaccine begins about two weeks after receiving the shot. Like other vaccines, it takes time for the body to develop protection.
Why do patients receive one shot instead of two?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine works differently in the body than the two-dose vaccines, which is why people receive just one dose. This method has been used for many years to develop successful vaccines for use in people.
The one-dose vaccine is a viral vectored vaccine, which uses a harmless type of virus to help the body make a specific protein to trigger an immune response to COVID-19. The two-dose vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA, that teach the body how to make a protein to trigger an immune response to COVID-19.
The vaccine is also easier to store than other vaccines. It can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures for up to three months, meaning we can more easily get it into the community to vaccinate more people against COVID-19.
What are the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
Similar to the two-dose vaccines, people may experience cold-like symptoms, such as headache, body aches, arm pain and tiredness. Fewer than 10 percent of participants experienced a fever and no one in the Johnson & Johnson one-dose study reported a severe allergic reaction.
What are the benefits of one dose?
A single-dose vaccine may be desirable for people who want to complete their immunization schedule quickly, do not want to return for a second dose or have difficulty returning for a second dose. A single-dose vaccine is beneficial for areas where it is difficult to schedule appointments online or store the vaccines.
Does the vaccine protect against new strains or variants of the virus?
Johnson & Johnson is continuing to study effectiveness against new variants. So far, the one-dose vaccine has been more than 80 percent effective at preventing severe disease across United States, Brazil and South Africa populations.
We know the vaccines available now are safe and effective. The most important thing right now is to get as many people as possible vaccinated using the vaccines available so we can better protect people in our communities.
Who was included in the clinical trials for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
The clinical trial pool for Johnson & Johnson was diverse. In the United States, 74 percent were White/Caucasian; 15 percent were Hispanic/Latinx; 13 percent were Black/African American; 6 percent were Asian and 1 percent were Native American.
Forty-one percent of participants in the study had health conditions associated with an increased risk for developing severe COVID-19 (overall 41 percent), obesity (28.5 percent), type 2 diabetes (7.3 percent), hypertension (10.3 percent), HIV (2.8 percent). Other immunocompromised participants were also in the study.
Can people choose which vaccine they want to get?
Given the limited amount of vaccine supply available, people are not able to choose the type of vaccine they will receive. All vaccines currently available are safe and protect people against COVID-19. Regardless of which vaccine you receive, you will be better protected than if you did not receive a vaccine. The most important thing right now is to get as many people vaccinated using the vaccines available. Herd immunity will better protect people in our communities.
Sources: Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson Announces Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Met Primary Endpoints in Interim Analysis of its Phase 3 ENSEMBLE Trial | Johnson & Johnson (jnj.com)
Update 2/12/21: Virginia launches statewide pre-registration system
Suggestion from the Virginia Department of Health: Remember to save your vaccination card in a safe place. The vaccination card tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.