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Johnson & Johnson vaccine: What you need to know

Updated: Mar. 6, 2021 at 6:48 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Emergency use authorization has been granted for the newly developed Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are based on messenger RNA that tells your body what proteins to develop against the virus, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is an adenoviral vector vaccine.

“Adenovirus vaccines are not really new. We have already used them for things like the Ebola vaccine. An adenovirus vaccine is a virus that has been altered so that it can’t make you sick and it can’t replicate. It has a special bit of genetic code that has been inserted into it that, in this case, causes your body to make the spike protein,” said Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is administered in one dose, and it can be stored effectively at normal refrigerator temperatures for longer. This helps make the vaccine much safer to deploy around the country. It also has been shown to result in less side effects for the recipient.

In the end, our bodies develop an immune response to that spike protein no matter which of the three vaccines you get.

Swift added, “You can’t compare these vaccines head-to-head because they were tested in different circumstances. They are all highly effective.”

Experts say you should take whichever vaccine is available and continue to wear masks, keep your distance and wash your hands often.

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