Johnson & Johnson Vaccine


Matthew Wan

 Over the past couple of months, COVID-19 vaccines have been made available to the general public and administered to essential workers, high-risk individuals, and people above the age of sixteen. Among the most popular are Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Many have rushed to protect themselves against the pandemic and it seems as if everyone is trying to procure the vaccine.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies, was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on February 27, 2021, to prevent COVID-19. Recommended for adults above the age of eighteen, this vaccine stood out from the rest as it required a single shot as opposed to Moderna’s and Pfizer’s two shots. It is a vector viral vaccine and does not contain the live virus. Johnson and Johnson uses an adenovirusㅡa virus that causes cold-like symptomsㅡwhich causes a rise in protein that the immune system responds to, creating the antibodies for COVID-19. The vaccine takes about two weeks before it is fully effective, as it takes time for your body to build immunity after the dose. 

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was initially granted an EAU based on scientific evidence derived from the Phase 3 Ensemble studyㅡa randomized, double-blind (neither the patient nor researcher knows which treatment the participants are receiving), placebo-controlled (a fake treatment is given to one control group and the real, another) clinical trial of patients eighteen or olderㅡ that determined it had an 85 percent effectiveness against the COVID-19.

However, in April things took a turn for the worse. The CDC and FDA recommended a pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine following reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot (thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS) that arose after the vaccine was administered. All the patients were women between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine with an average age of thirty-seven. Including the initial six cases, a total of fifteen cases of TTS have been reported to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) out of the 6.8 million doses administered. One Virginia woman has already died and another in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.

Despite this, after a thorough safety review, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and FDA has decided to resume the distribution and usage of the Janssen vaccine. The FDA has determined that based on all the available information, the “potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.” The CDC and FDA have both concluded that this vaccine is safe to use and effective at preventing COVID-19. That being said, these agencies will remain on high alert and continue to investigate the risks of this vaccine as well as the others.