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Question Your World: How Effective Is the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine?

Posted: March 17, 2021

Humanity now has a few tools to helping address the novel coronavirus pandemic. Here in the United States the FDA has three vaccines now authorized for emergency use. The latest vaccine offering is made possible by the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) company. This new vaccine has been making headlines for a few different reasons, but the big question on everyone’s mind is how effective is the J&J vaccine? 

On February 27, 2021, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, making it the third vaccine available now! So, let’s take a moment to explore this new vaccine, how it works, and examine its effectiveness. 

First of all, this new J&J vaccine works with only a single dose, meaning no follow ups for round two like the other options currently available. This vaccine is also easier to ship and store: it can be kept at simple refrigerator temperatures for up to three months!

The J&J team is also using a different technology in this vaccine. Theirs uses a weakened virus that cannot infect you to deliver genetic instructions to your cells to produce the novel coronavirus' spike protein. Your immune system responds, remembers this spike protein, and – just like that – you’re protected.

Image credit: Getty Images

But the big question on everyone’s mind is how effective is this new single-dose vaccine?

Short answer: very effective.

Long answer: very very effective! This vaccine’s trials revealed an 85% efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 illness. Also, like the other vaccines, the J&J vaccine provided 100% protection against hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Medical experts observed that this level of protection against moderate to severe disease starts only two weeks after the single dose J&J vaccine. 

The side effects observed during trials were mild injection site pain, fatigue, muscle and joint pains, and headache. There were a few reported fevers. These are similar to the side effects of your annual flu shot. This new J&J vaccine now joins the Moderna and Pfizer options as safe, effective protections against COVID-19, and incredible achievements of modern science. 

Experts emphasize that you should take any of the vaccine options given to you because they all do the same thing: keep you protected from COVID-19! Remember, it’s only after everyone who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated that we can safely loosen social distancing restrictions and begin to resume interactions with friends and loved ones. Thanks to science we now have three options to help protect us from the reach of this virus. 

If you have not already, head over to vaccinate.virginia.gov and pre register for a vaccine event. Hey folks, it’s literally worth a shot! 

For more on this please check out other blogs we've posted addressing related questions like:

For more, please visit smv.org/vaccines.


Need vaccine? Learn how to get your shot at Vaccinate.Virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN VA. 8am - 8pm. Language translation available TTY users dial 7-1-1.

¿Necesitas vacunarte? Enterate como conseguir tu vacuna Vaccinate.Virginia.gov o llamando al 1-877-829-4682 de 8am a 8pm. Traduccion disponible en tu idioma. Usuarios de TTY pueden marcar al 7-1-1.