New Hartford, N.Y. – When it was announced on Wednesday that MVHS in Utica received a shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from New York State and would administer those doses on Saturday at their Burrstone Road vaccination pod, just over the Utica line in New Hartford, those slots filled up very quickly on the State Health Department’s website, and it wasn’t just local people that signed up.
Gloria Fletcher of Auburn signed up and was at her appointment in New Hartford early Saturday morning and says she was more than willing to make the hour and a half trip, “I could’ve gotten the Pfizer at the fairgrounds but I don’t want Pfizer, I wanted the Johnson & Johnson.”
It was just two weeks ago back on Saturday, February 27th that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and since then many people across the country have wanted to try and make sure they got that particular vaccine because it’s only a one shot vaccine instead of two, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Gloria Fletcher wasn’t alone in making the long trip on Saturday specifically to get the J & J vaccine in New Hartford, Shawn Gilbert also made an hour and a half trip, but from Cortland, “I feel great about getting the J & J. One and done.”
Bill West made the one hour trip down to New Hartford from Old Forge, “I wanted the single dose. I thought it would be much better than to wait three weeks for a second dose, and I could be getting my immunity right away.
There are however, many people who don’t want the Johnson & Johnson because the J & J clinical trials have shown the drug’s efficacy was 66%, whereas Moderna and Pfizer’s versions were both above 94%.
Efficacy in this case means preventing symptomatic COVID infection. The trial has also shown that in those people that did get COVID after getting the J & J vaccine, the drug was 85% effective in protecting against severe symptoms, and there were no hospitalizations or deaths among people in the vaccine trial.
Shawn Gilbert of Cortland says she trusts the science, “I feel like they wouldn’t have released it if it wasn’t something that wasn’t fully capable of doing the job.”
Some, like Gloria Fletcher of Auburn, say they are more comfortable with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because there haven’t been many reports of severe side effects since Americans started receiving the single dose vaccine across the country almost two weeks ago, “I’ve heard a lot more side effects, especially from the Moderna, and in the Pfizer as well, and I haven’t heard anything really much (with J & J vaccine), some soreness, a spike in temperature maybe for a couple of hours afterwards with a Johnson & Johnson.”
U.S. health officials say when it comes to getting vaccinated, get what you can get, when you can get it. They say all three vaccines are safe and all protect against severe cases of COVID and even death if you do get it, plus each dose brings the country that much closer to herd immunity.