EXPLAINER: 95% or 66%, Johnson & Johnson vaccine saves lives, Sparrow official says


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — On Saturday, the FDA formally approved the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

However, everyone is seemingly caught up on this one number, 66 percent.

That’s how effective the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is, compared to roughly 95 percent from Moderna and Pfizer. 

But the Pharmacy Director at Sparrow Hospital said that’s not necessarily what we should be looking at.

“There were zero people in that study who got hospitalized or died from the coronavirus after getting the vaccine,” said Todd Belding, the Pharmacy Director at Sparrow Hospital. “I mean, the end goal is that we don’t get hospitalized or pass away because we got the disease.”

Belding said the J&J vaccine is a great one, and that the most important thing is saving lives, not necessarily stopping people from getting the virus.

“No one likes a cold, no one likes that feeling but we get through it, right?” Belding said. “So if you’ve got a version of COVID that you may be a little uncomfortable, but you live, that’s still not desirable but okay.”

On the subject of getting American’s vaccinated, President Biden made news this week when he bumped up the nations vaccine timeline.

“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by May,” Biden said.

And Belding thinks the President is right.

“I am very optimistic that he is correct,” Belding said. “We have the capacity to probably double and maybe even triple what we’re currently doing today.”

Elizabeth Reust is the Forensic Pathology Supervisor at Sparrow Hospital and works at the Sparrow vaccine clinic in Frandor. She doesn’t anticipate people resisting the J&J vaccine.

“We’ve actually had some demand for the Johnson & Johnson, people who only want to get one shot have asked for it,” Reust said.

While we are seeing encouraging signs, Dr. Fauci, the White House’s Chief Medical Adviser, said it’s too early to completely open things up as they did in Texas.

“We just don’t want to see that,” Fauci said. “We don’t want to continue to prevent people from doing what they want to do. But let’s get down to a good level. Let’s get many, many more people vaccinated. And then you could pull back on those types of public health measures.”

Belding said another important thing to consider is the COVID-19 variants. The faster we get everyone vaccinated, the less likely it is that a new variant will emerge that the vaccine can’t stop.

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