The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation received its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this month.
Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which require two doses, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. This makes it more appealing and practical for certain populations, especially in a wide-spread rural region like the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
“It is nice in populations that have difficulties either logistically or because of travel-related problems getting the second shot,” Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also an option for people who want to reach a fully vaccinated status sooner, which occurs two weeks after the initial Johnson & Johnson dose. Full vaccination is reached five weeks after the inital Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: the second Pfizer-BioNTech dose is administered 21 days after the first dose, and full vaccination occures two weeks after the second dose. Full vaccination is reached six weeks after the inital Moderna vaccine: the second Moderna dose is administered 28 days after the first dose, and full vaccination occures two weeks after the second dose.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also easier to transport and store. It requires refrigerated temperatures, but not the frozen or ultra deep cold required for the other COVID-19 vaccines.
The efficacy of the vaccines are also different.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66% effective at preventing COVID-19. The Pfizer and Moderna are 95% effective at preventing the disease. All three vaccines are almost entirely effective at preventing severe COVID-19 and hospitalizations from the virus.
“Which is absolutely what we’re interested in, is preventing severe disease,” Hodges said.
YKHC’s initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipment contained 200 doses, and more are expected.
YKHC has an online form for anyone age 16 or older to request a COVID-19 vaccine. That form now includes the option to request the Johnson & Johnson single-dose.