Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is 66% effective in global trial, but 85% effective against severe disease, company says

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 17:24:08-05

(WXYZ) — Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine candidate was found to be 85% effective against the most serious symptoms of COVID-19.

But it was less effective in preventing moderate to severe cases. And the numbers varied region to region - according to phase 3 data.

The results of Johnson & Johnson’s global phase 3 trial are very interesting. Unlike Moderna and Pfizer - where their vaccine efficacy rates are 94.1% and 95% - Johnson & Johnson’s efficacy rates are actually broken down by region.

So, here in the United States, the efficacy rate against moderate to severe disease was found to be 72%. In Latin American, it was 66%. In South Africa, it was 57%. And when the numbers were all averaged out, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine was found to be 66% effective overall in preventing moderate to severe disease.

Here’s what Johnson & Johnson did. They defined severe disease as what makes you feel - and I quote “particularly sick at home, or may go to the hospital, or worse”. So they are saying that their vaccine was 85% effective at preventing the most serious symptoms.

They also found that the vaccine appeared to be 100% protective against disease that would send an infected person to the hospital. And it also appeared to be 100% protective against death.

The first is that this vaccine is a single-dose. So one appointment only and you’re done.

Next, protection from the virus started as early as day 14 in some of the participants. Whereas with Pfizer and Moderna, you waiting 3 to 4 weeks just to get their second dose.

Also, no major side effects were reported. Participants had mild reactions and less than 10% had a fever. And there were no reports of severe allergic reactions.

Question: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was tested in South Africa, so does that mean their vaccine was up against the new variant there?

The new variant called B.1.135 was circulating in South Africa when the vaccine was being tested. So it could be the reason why the vaccine was only 57% effective there.

But, the participants who got the vaccine and were infected with the virus ended up with a milder illness. So even though Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is not as effective as Pfizer and Moderna’s, it was still protecting participants from getting seriously sick and dying. And that is what the world really needs right now. Because over two million people worldwide have died from COVID-19. So this vaccine, if approved, could really help to curb this pandemic and save lives.

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