As we welcome Spring, the return to normal life in the US seems closer than ever. There is still reason to beware, however, with more covid variants taking hold across the world. Health officials warn that we are in a close race between herd immunity and new soaring infection rates. France and Italy, which served as warning beacons to the US at the onset of the pandemic, have reinstated restrictions.
It is a hard time to know how to feel, and safe practices are still widely encouraged. However, there are reasons to have hope, and even make plans for the future.
Here is some encouraging news about the different vaccines available in the US today:
In clinical trials the Pfizer vaccine is shown to be around 94% effective. Also encouraging is that Pfizer, in a recent report, stated that the vaccine provides immunity lasting around 6 months, and is effective against the emerging variants.
And for all those watching the school openings, Pfizer came out with some exciting results in a new study: their vaccine is “100% effective and well tolerated” in children aged 12-15.
This vaccine works with the same mRNA technology as Pfizer, and these two companies were the first to be approved for use in the US. Moderna vaccines show a comparable rate of efficacy, around 94.5%.
There is other good news about both of these vaccines, too. Just last week, the CDC released a study reporting that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 90% effective against the virus in real world settings. This means they were tested among healthcare professionals, working on the front line, and obtained very positive results.
Moderna is in the process of testing adolescents as well, and we should expect to see their findings soon.
Johnson & Johnson
This vaccine was approved a little later than the other two, and uses a different, but equally effective, technology. It suffers somewhat from a bad reputation because of its comparatively lower efficacy rate: 74.4% in the US.
However, experts stress that the most important factor to consider is that this vaccine still boasts 100% efficacy against hospitalization and death. The fact is, Johnson & Johnson testing was done when there were more variants at play, which could have skewed their numbers compared to the other companies.
There are even some advantages to consider, as this vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, and only requires one shot.
The bottom line
While new information continues to come out everyday, there is one urgent and consistent message from the experts: get the first vaccine available to you, and get it as soon as you are able. There is stringent testing required in the US, and all the vaccines are both safe and effective. There is no reason to avoid or choose one over the other.
While caution is still advised, the numbers are encouraging. With around 165 million vaccines administered in the US, there is hope we can all greet the warmer weather together, with less fear and less restrictions.