The three US-approved jabs are “really, really good,” the top US infectious disease official said.
Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s chief infectious disease official, is urging Americans to accept one of three available COVID-19 vaccines, including the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The U.S. government cleared Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, making it the third to be available in the country after those from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
These two vaccines require two doses and must be shipped frozen. J&J vaccine can be shipped and stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.
“All three of them are really, really good, and people should take whichever is most available to them. If you go somewhere and you have J&J, and that’s the one that’s available now, I’d take it, ”Fauci said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press show.
On Sunday, the J&J vaccine received final approval for widespread use.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed higher efficacy rates in trials using two doses compared to J & J’s single injection vaccine.
However, Fauci and other experts say direct comparison is difficult because the trials served different purposes and the J&J was conducted as new, more contagious variants of the virus circulated.
Fauci said studies are underway to determine their effectiveness and safety for children under 18, who are less likely to contract the virus.
Elementary students could receive doses towards the end of the year or early next year, while high school students could receive them in the fall, Fauci said.
The new vaccine gives the US government another option, as it attempts to immunize as many Americans as quickly as possible.
About 14% of Americans have received at least one dose to date, according to government data.
President Joe Biden has said there should be enough supply to vaccinate all Americans by the end of July.
COVID-19 has killed more than half a million people in the United States, and states are calling for more vaccines to stem cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Daily infections have declined significantly since their peak in January, and some states have started to ease restrictions on public gatherings.
However, Fauci warned that the number of cases could rise again if officials act too quickly.
“It is really too premature right now to go back too far,” he said.