Board of Health member urges residents not to be picky about which vaccine they receive

SOUTHWICK – Board of Health member Dr. Jerry Azia urged residents not to wait until they get their “preferred” vaccine for COVID-19 but rather to take the first option that is made available to them. 

During the Board of Health meeting Thursday, March 4 the board members discussed possible vaccine distribution plans. Dr. Azia pointed out that there are some people among the public who seem to want to wait to get their COVID-19 vaccine until the kind they want is available to them. 

The perceived reasoning for some people wanting to wait is because the recently approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine has a reported efficacy of between 66 and 75 percent, while the Pzifer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both have efficacies of upwards of 90 percent. 

While Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna both have a higher effectiveness rating, they both require two shots while the Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires just one. 

Though the effectiveness is lower, Johnson and Johnson’s version is still considered to be highly effective in comparison to vaccines for other diseases like the flu. Had it been released before Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, it would have likely been perceived as a bigger success among the public. 

Dr. Azia pointed out that even though the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has a lower efficacy, it is still highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms and typically keeps people out of the hospital. 

“In the time that you wait, you could end up on a ventilator, or dead,” said Dr. Azia bluntly. 

On Wednesday, in a surprise announcement, President Joseph R. Biden said that the U.S. is on track to have enough vaccine doses for every adult in the country by the end of May, much earlier than the July-timeline he originally proposed. 

Though the doses will be available, the logistics of actually getting the shots into people’s arms may continue to be problematic, meaning one may have to not be picky for which version of the shot they receive.

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