Three’s not a crowd in the case of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose arrived in North Carolina in early March following Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Correct Priest mug
Dr. David Priest

The vaccine is 85% effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19 and 72% effective at preventing moderate cases. According to Johnson & Johnson, the vaccine offers complete protection in preventing hospitalization and death as a result of the virus.

“Remember: the influenza vaccine has an effectiveness of 35% to 55%,” said Dr. David Priest, Novant Health senior vice president and chief safety and quality officer, Priest said. “So, the fact that we have three vaccines for COVID that have an 82% or higher effectiveness rate against the most serious complications is unbelievably good news.”

Advantages of the J&J vaccine

This vaccine works differently in the body than the two-dose vaccines, which is why you need just one dose. It’s also easier to store and transport because it doesn’t have to be kept at super-cold temperatures. That means it’s easier to distribute.

The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is “infinitely more transportable to areas that are a little bit more challenging to reach – rural areas or individuals who may be sick and shut in,” said Dr. Jerome Williams JrNovant Health senior vice president of consumer engagement.

Deeper details

  • This vaccine uses “viral vector technology.” Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus as a vector to deliver instructions, in the form of genetic material (a gene), to a cell. The vaccine does not cause infection with either COVID-19 or the virus that is used as the vector. The two-dose vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA, that teach the body how to make a protein to trigger an immune response to COVID-19.
  • Priest also noted that while Johnson & Johnson is the vaccine name most are familiar with, it was actually co-developed by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. Therefore, patients who receive this vaccine will see Janssen in their medical record, not Johnson & Johnson.
  • The vaccine is for ages 18 and older.



Possible side effects

Possible expected effects, or side effects, from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are the same as the two-dose vaccines – a sore arm, fever, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two.


Getting vaccinated is the most important thing

All vaccines currently available are safe and protect against COVID-19. “Regardless of which vaccine you receive, you will be better protected than if you did not receive a vaccine,” Priest said. “The most important thing right now is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”