Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President, has already received his coronavirus vaccine—the Moderna vaccine. But with the “good news”—his words—of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine winning emergency approval this weekend, you now have three vaccines you might get: One from Moderna, one from Pfizer and one from J&J. The difference? The first two have an efficacy rate well over 90%, while J&J ranks lower at 72%. Dr. Fauci says comparing them like that isn’t helpful. Read on to see which vaccine he would take if he could—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
On Sunday’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, the host asked Fauci if we should worry about the J + J performance. “We’ve got to get away from that chain of thought for the following reason,” said Fauci. “The only way you really know the difference between vaccines is by comparing them head to head. We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious. That’s the bottom line and the J&J, if you look at them, particularly in things that we really care about, they’re important. It’s got greater than 85% efficacy after a severe disease and critical disease. And there were no deaths or hospitalizations in any of the countries that were tested. And remember they tested in the United States and South Africa and in South America. This is a good vaccine,” he continued. “I think we need to pull away from this comparing and parsing numbers until you compare them head to head, just be really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines.”
On Meet the Press, Fauci continued to put things in context. “First of all, you would now have three highly efficacious vaccines, for sure. There’s no doubt about that. And particularly the recent results from J&J—if you look at the efficacy against severe disease, greater than 85%, and there’d been no hospitalizations or deaths in multiple countries, even in countries that have the variants. So be careful when you try to parse this percent versus that. All three of them are really quite good and people should take the one that’s most available to them. If you go to a place and you have J&J and that’s the one that’s available now, I would take it. I personally do the same thing. I think people need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible. And if I would go to a place where they had J&J I would have no hesitancy whatsoever to take it.”
Fauci continued his line on Face the Nation. “Is Johnson and Johnson an inferior vaccine, particularly for older Americans?” asked host Margaret Brennan. “No, you know, you can’t say that,” answered Dr. Fauci. “We now have clearly three highly efficacious vaccines. They’re highly efficacious in many ways, including importantly, preventing severe or critical disease. If you look at all three of them, they’re really very good. The J&J data that just came out and that was just examined by the FDA. When you have advanced critical disease, there were no hospitalizations and no deaths. That’s good news Margaret. So I think rather than parsing out subgroups here, let’s just look at the totality of this. We have a really good vaccine.”
Fauci had a busy Sunday morning. On CNN’s State of the Union, Fauci was asked again about the J&J efficacy and worries about it being too low. “You can understand that type of a concern,” Fauci told host Dana Bash, “but in order to really compare vaccines, you have to compare them head to head. And these were not compared head to head. The message that needs to be prevail…is that these are three highly efficacious vaccines. I can tell you, I have been fully vaccinated with one that was available. It was the Moderna. If I were not vaccinated now, and I had a choice of getting a J&J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me as quickly as possible for the simple reason of what I said a moment ago. We want to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible. So this is good news because we have another very good vaccine in the mix.”
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“So bottom line,” he said, “if you’re offered a vaccine, whichever one you’re offered, you should take it.” So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.