Doctors address questions on available vaccines, possible side effects

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:04 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County is continuing its effort to vaccinate residents who are at least 80 years old. When it comes to the vaccines that are available (Pfizer and Moderna) local doctors who spoke with Eyewitness News advise to take what you can get. This week, news from Johnson & Johnson provides hope for more vaccines in a country that, so far, has struggled to vaccinate its population.

For now, those eligible to get a shot to protect against COVID-19, don’t get to choose which vaccine to get. Pfizer and Monderna are both about 95 percent effective after two doses, but there are slight differences between them, like the storing temperature and waiting time between the first and second dose.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, but the company says overall, it’s about 66 effective at preventing moderate to severe illness.

“It’s easier to administer and easier to store and it’s less complicated. You don’t have to go back in for a second dose,” Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns said. “Now, is that why it’s not as effective? I don’t know. That’s why we need more information about it.”

Will Johnson & Johnson be better than Moderna or Pfizer in the long run?

Dr. Minns said for now, it’s better than not getting a vaccine at all, despite the lower protection percentage so far, compared to Pfizer and Moderna.

“It kind of has us in limbo right now, so I’d like to see the final results of the study,” he said.

What should you expect after you get your second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna? Doctors say having symptoms is common and that shouldn’t keep you from getting a vaccine.

“These side effects are very mild to moderate,” said Grace Med Chief Medical Officer Dr. Julie Elder. “They are short-lasting, and it’s certainly much better than getting COVID.”

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