Yesterday, here in Michigan, they announced that beginning this week people in the 50-64 age group will be able to sign up to play . . . Vaccine Lottery! (Beginning with those with medical need first, and then by mid-month the rest of us in the 50+ range will be able to sign up.)
It's exciting news, to be sure.
But my first thought was . . . I bet it will be the J&J vaccine we get. And I'd rather have one of "the good ones."
Not the right attitude.
Flawed logic and bad assumptions on my part.
(This would be an ideal spot to insert a photo of, oh . . . say me, getting the vaccine. But since that hasn't happened yet, here! Take a look at my new mini-orchid instead.)
Lucky for me, the New York Times addressed this very issue in The Morning (their daily e-newsletter). Since it's Thursday, I thought I'd share three pieces of information I gleaned from the information I read this morning . . . regarding the vaccines and J&J's entry into the arena. (Because I kinda bet I'm not the only one feeling like they may have to "settle for" the J&J vaccine.)
First of all, here is the basis for all the "brand hesitancy" regarding the three vaccines (and this is directly copied from the The Morning e-newsletter today, links included).
"The perception stems from the headline rates of effectiveness of the three vaccines: 72 percent for Johnson & Johnson, compared with 94 percent for Moderna and 95 percent for Pfizer. But those headline rates can be misleading in a few ways. The most important measure — whether the vaccine prevents serious illness — shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be equally effective as the other two. All work for nearly 100 percent of people. The picture is murkier for mild cases, but they are not particularly worrisome." --- The Morning, March 4, 2021
Okay. So all of us know that 94% and 95% beat 72%. That explains why we might prefer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations. But . . . let's dig further:
- Those "headline percentages" (94%, 95%, 72%) describe the vaccines effectiveness at preventing ALL infections from the Covid virus. But preventing ALL infections isn't really as important as it sounds. WHAAAAT??? you say. According to The Morning, "The world is not going to eliminate SARS-Cov-2 anytime soon. Coronaviruses circulate all the time, causing the common cold and other manageable illnesses. The trouble with this virus is its lethality. It has killed 15 times as many Americans as an average flu season. Turning Covid into something more like a mild flu or common cold means victory over the pandemic."
- So the real goal of the vaccines here . . . is to keep Covid manageable. Like the way colds or the garden-variety flu are manageable for us. And all three approved vaccines do just that! Again, according to The Morning, "all three vaccines being used in the U.S. are accomplishing that goal. In the research trials, none of the people who received a vaccine died of Covid. And after the vaccines had taken full effect, none were hospitalized, either." So, with any of the vaccines, we may still get Covid. But it will only be a mild case; something we can manage and - most importantly - survive.
- So why isn't the J&J vaccine as effective as the other two? There are a few theories. One is that they were performing the clinical trials AFTER the more transmissible variants had emerged in the population. (Neither Moderna's nor Pfizer's vaccines were tested against the variants.) Another possibility is that the J&J vaccine only requires one dose. (Maybe a second dose would give even higher results; they didn't test that.) But . . . look to the UK, where they decided to only give everyone one dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines: the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths there are all dropping drastically. Basically, after ANY of the 3 approved vaccines, you have very little chance of dying from Covid. And that, according to The Morning, is "breathtaking."
Bottom line: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the just-as-good!
All three vaccines are WONDERS!
Any of them will keep you from serious illness or death from Covid.
When it's your turn to grab a vaccine, listen to Stephen Stills . . . and love the one you're with!
For more Three on Thursday posts, be sure to head over to Carole's today.