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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

As of April 15, 2021, everyone in Washington age 16 and over is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Please visit our vaccine page for information on how to schedule an appointment.

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Which vaccine? Don’t hesitate, procrastinate or vacillate — get the first vaccine you can!

Posted on Mar. 12, 2021 ( comments)

The good news about COVID-19 is that effective vaccines keep coming. Nearly 3 million Americans are being vaccinated each day. With the recent FDA Emergency Use Approval (EUA) of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there are now three vaccines available (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) in the United States, which should further speed up the pace of vaccinations.

However, rumors circulating about the relative effectiveness of the three vaccines may be causing some people to try to wait for the “right one.” But such vaccine-shopping is unnecessary, say medical experts. That’s because all three vaccines are highly effective at protecting against COVID-19 and preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

Clinical trials have shown these overall rates of immunity: Johnson & Johnson: 72 percent; Moderna: 94 percent; Pfizer: 95 percent. But do these numbers matter for people waiting to get vaccinated? Not really, say the experts.  

These percentages refer to a vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing all symptoms from this specific coronavirus (SARS COVID-2). That measure is important, but not the only yardstick. Coronaviruses are always circulating in the population, responsible for colds and other minor ailments. But this particular coronavirus is new to people (which is why it’s called “novel” coronavirus). That means we don’t have any natural immunity to it to help keep us from getting sick on our own. And it has proven deadly to millions of people.

All three vaccines are very effective at keeping you from getting sick at all. Perhaps more importantly, all three work to make any potential COVID-19 infection milder, more like a “regular” cold or flu, instead of the potentially deadly illness it can be without vaccine protection. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be a little less effective at preventing mild COVID-19 infection. But the measure of whether the vaccine prevents serious illness shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be equally effective as the other two. All work to prevent serious infections for nearly 100 percent of people — and that’s the most important number of all.

Vaccine differences

While there are some differences among the three vaccines, medical experts say they are minor.

Vaccine                        Doses required               Ages           Long-term Storage

Pfizer

2 (21 days   apart)

16+

Special freezers

Moderna

2 (28 days apart)

18+

Routine freezer

Johnson & Johnson

1

18+

Routine refrigeration

One difference that people may find beneficial is that since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, individuals who get that shot will reach protective levels of immunity more quickly.

Bottom line? The shot available to you is the best shot for you to get. Protect yourself and others by getting whichever vaccine is available to you when it’s your turn.

For more information about getting vaccinating against COVID-19, consult your health care provider or visit the Centers for Disease Control's website.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines at MultiCare, visit our COVID-19 vaccine page.

Posted in: COVID-19

About The Author

Jean Jackman

Jean is our former vice president of marketing, She has written hundreds of articles and book reviews for newspapers in Washington, Michigan and Oregon.

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