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VERIFY: Despite lower effectiveness, Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine will play crucial role in ending pandemic

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will fill a void the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines cannot.

WASHINGTON — What good is a coronavirus vaccine that is 66% effective? That is a question many people have asked as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is on its way to approval.

The pharmaceutical company’s vaccine test results show it may not be as effective as the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. But medical experts said it will still play a crucial role in ending the pandemic.


Why is Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine needed to end the pandemic?


It can cover parts of the United States where it may be difficult to get the other vaccines.

Our Sources:

The vaccine test results from Johnson & Johnson and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert.

What We Found:

We should start with the 66% effectiveness. According to the Johnson & Johnson test results, that was the average from the global test.

The results in the United States put that number higher at 72%.

In an interview with WUSA9 Verify Team Reporter Gabe Cohen,  Dr. Anthony Fauci said it’s also effective at preventing COVID-19 cases from sending people to the hospital.

In his first one-on-one with WUSA9 under a new administration, the nation's leading infectious disease expert talks vaccines, double masking and new strains.

“One of the things that might get lost in the numbers is that when you look at the protection against serious disease, it's high,” Dr. Fauci explained. “It's 85% or more.”

Those are just the numbers.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is also more practical for widespread use across the country. It can be stored in a normal refrigerator. This means it can easily be stored and administered in rural areas, even in your doctor's office.

Whereas, Pfizer’s vaccine requires a special deep freezer. Not all hospitals or doctors' offices have access to deep freezers.

Dr. Fauci added another point, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one shot. Compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are two shots spread out over a month.

“Even though the number makes you raise your eyebrows say, well, there's a big difference between 72 and 95,” Dr. Fauci said. “Practically speaking, if the only thing you're worried about is keeping people out of the hospital, and not getting people seriously ill, there is clearly value with the Johnson & Johnson.”

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