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Here’s why you don’t get to choose which vaccine you get


FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2021, file photo, healthcare worker receives a second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot at Beaumont Health in Southfield, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

(KTAL/KMSS) – There is no way to choose which COVID-19 vaccine you get and that will not be changing anytime soon, but you will know which one you are getting before it goes into your arm.

“That’s something that’s important to us,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a briefing earlier this week, noting that the White House coronavirus task force is encouraging all states to make sure people know which vaccine they’re going to get when they schedule an appointment. The fact that each vaccine needs to be administered differently and the need for efficiency means providers are not getting more than one type.

That’s why Edwards says a menu of options is not likely to happen for the foreseeable future.

“At least until such point as perhaps the demand doesn’t exceed supply, it isn’t like you’re going to be able to go to a vaccination site and be given a menu and say, I want the Pfizer, or I want the Moderna, or I want the Johnson & Johnson. That’s just not going to happen for some period of time.”

Whether there is a way to opt for a specific vaccine has become a question as health officials battle the misperception that the newest COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective as the others. Even before the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was cleared for emergency use by the FDA Saturday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert was warning people not to hold off on getting it while waiting for the slightly more effective two-dose Pfizer or Moderna shots.

Two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95% effective against symptomatic COVID-19. The numbers from J&J’s study are not that high, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. One dose of the J&J vaccine was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19. After adding in moderate cases, the total effectiveness dropped to about 66%.

Still, the new single-dose option could help speed vaccinations, tamp down a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 people in the U.S. and stay ahead of a mutating virus.

“People need to be vaccinated as soon as they are able and they need to access whichever vaccine is available to them at the earliest opportunity,” Edwards said.

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