How does Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine differ from Pfizer, Moderna?

Vaccine
Photo credit Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Johnson and Johnson announced today that its one-dose COVID vaccine offers strong protection from the virus with an international average efficacy of 66 percent.

Assistant Dean for Translational Science at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, Doctor Lucio Miele, says however in the U.S. the efficacy rate is 72 percent and only 57 perrcent in South Africa.

In addition to being only one injection, Miele says the J&J vaccine does not require cold storage making it ideal for rural areas and for those with access to care issues.

Miele says while the vaccine has a 66-percent efficacy rate of preventing moderate to severe illnesses like pneumonia or other breathing difficulties the efficacy of preventing serious illness is 85 percent.

“Severe disease is what lands in the ICU and it is frequently lethal, so the efficacy of preventing severe disease for this vaccine is much better than preventing moderate,” said Miele.

Miele says like the Pfizer and Moderna offerings the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine can be updated easily to handle variants of the virus if needed. Johnson and Johnson plans to seek FDA approval next month.