What to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ahead of its arrival on the Central Coast

Posted at 11:06 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 02:15:41-05

A new COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available on the Central Coast.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currently being shipped across the U.S., giving healthcare providers another tool in the fight against COVID-19.

This vaccine differs from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in several ways, the first being how it's designed.

"If anyone was weary about the new technology of the first two vaccines using mRNA technology, they can feel more assured with this one — it uses inactivated virus," Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center Infection Preventionist Chris Ecker said.

That means a virus will be recognized by your immune system without it being infectious, so you don't get the disease the vaccine is trying to prevent.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also only one dose. It does not need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures like other options on the market, making it easier to distribute.

While some have reported serious side effects following the second dose of Moderna that include nausea and fevers, the impacts of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be less for some people.

"The initial studies have shown that Johnson and Johnson's biggest side effects tend to be the side effects you get with any vaccination — headaches, sore muscles, a little bit of fatigue," Ecker said.

So which vaccine should you get if given the opportunity to choose? Healthcare providers we spoke to are united on this answer.

"The differences between Moderna, Phizer, Johnson and Johnson are fairly negligible. They're all very good at preventing severe infection to death," Ecker said.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said in a statement:

The Public Health Department excitedly awaits its first allocation of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Increased vaccine availability means the opportunity to vaccinate more community members and move closer to the end of the pandemic. The best vaccine is the one that is available to you. Vaccine remains limited at this time and we encourage our community members not to delay getting vaccinated if they are eligible.

Healthcare providers say they are hopeful a large part of the community will be vaccinated by this Fall, as spikes in cases of COVID-19 last year were seen around the holidays due to gatherings.

Healthcare works say even after getting vaccinated, it's important to still wear a mask and social distance.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is expected to give a full report on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday morning at the county board of supervisors meeting.

We reached out to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department for comment and did not hear back.