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Recently, two more vaccines are being reviewed in the news for their efficacy and usefulness in the fight against COVID-19.  The producers are Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.  The Johnson & Johnson or J&J has been discussed earlier than the other since it may soon receive EUA.  Compared to the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the J&J vaccine is one shot only and only needs home refrigeration unlike these current ones which require two shots spaced apart and deep refrigeration.  In effect, this vaccine could be a game changer and be distributed more widely, perhaps on a larger scale.

The J&J vaccine has sounded great in theory but has two hurdles to pass:  efficacy and working against new variants of COVID-19.   Apparently, Janssen Pharmaceuticals has reported 66% efficacy for the J&J vaccine, but this has been an average reported across countries. In the U.S. it had an 72% efficacy but lower in South Africa, which has one of the new variants. However, this vaccine has been reported to be on the verge of an EUA and could soon be out for use.  Thus far no serious anaphylactic events have been reported for this one in its Phase III trials unlike the Pfizer and Moderna ones.

The Novavax vaccine against COVID-19 has also been reported to have a strong efficacy of 89.3% in its Phase III trials in the U.K..  It also has been designed to have 2 shots like Pfizer and Moderna and actually has really about 95.6% efficacy.  Furthermore, it has not required deep refrigeration and also has maintained a good safety profile.  It certainly has promised to be a strong competitor to the other vaccines.

Essentially while these two vaccines have reported to show efficacy also against COVID-19, though perhaps not as high as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they both certainly have shown advantages with easier cold storage and transport.  Also the J&J vaccine has proven to be a one shot vaccine thus far.  Furthermore, both these vaccines have stronger safety profiles thus far reported.  The public will have to wait and see how these vaccines enter the market and are distributed but there is a potential for positivity for both and hopefully, a sooner end to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Written by Usha Govindarajulu

February 2, 2021