EXPLAINER: The difference between the COVID-19 vaccines

The differences between the COVID-19 vaccines

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With three COVID-19 vaccine options, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

Moderna, Pfizer and soon Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will all be available in Shelby County.

So, does it matters which one goes in your arm?

Infectious disease expert and COVID-19 task force member Dr. Minoj Jain says there are some differences in how the vaccines were made.

Moderna and Pfizer use and mRNA.

“Genetic code which is extracted from the virus. So, it’s not the whole virus. It’s a small part of the genetic code which makes a spike protein, and that is utilized to then make that protein in ourselves. And then our body makes antibodies,” said Dr. Minoj Jain.

Whereas the Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses a common cold virus.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine only available to one group for now

“It’s deactivated, it doesn’t cause a cold,” he said. “It uses that as a vector or a vehicle by which to get the genetic material in so that our body can recognize that as a foreign agent and then build antibodies.”

The efficiency rate for Moderna is 94.1 percent, for Pfizer 95 percent, and for the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine 66.3 percent.

But health experts say beware of comparing it to the other two.

For more stories on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit wmcactionnews5.com/coronavirus.

“These studies cannot be compared, the study results cannot be compared apples to apples,” said Dr. Aditya Guar.

Dr. Guar was the co-primary investigator of the Johnson and Johnson clinical trial conducted at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

He says three vaccines were studied among different populations during different time frames before and after variants were discovered.

When it’s your time to get your shot, Dr. Jain says they’re all very effective in preventing hospitalization and death but you should “get the one that’s available to you.”

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