American Hesitancy Regarding Vaccine Brand

Joe Adams, Staff Writer

On March 2, President Joe Biden delivered some promising news regarding vaccine rollout in the United States. There will be enough COVID-19 vaccines for every American adult by the end of May.

When I heard this, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not only was I nervous about when I would be able to get a vaccine, but I also feared when everyone across the United States would have access. Personally, I’ve been getting really into learning about vaccination in the United States, and I am constantly checking how many new people are vaccinated in the country by the end of the day. Seeing the percentage go up more rapidly each day has been exciting to watch. Hearing all of this good news has made the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel even closer.

But the light is still somewhat far away. Although it seems like cases are dropping and vaccines are being administered faster and faster, there are some issues arising. One of the biggest issues throughout the past few months has been vaccine hesitancy, with some Americans not sure if they actually want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, there is a new concern that came this week. With the announcement of the FDA approval of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, “brand hesitancy” has become something to worry about.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an efficacy of 72%. When compared with the Moderna vaccine efficacy of 94% and the Pfizer vaccine efficacy of 95%, Johnson & Johnson may not seem like the best choice for Americans. At first, I was confused about which brand of vaccine I should want to receive and whether or not I would be given a choice. 

However, after listening to experts (including my go-to guy, Dr. Fauci), it is clear to me that we should take whatever is offered first. Experts continuously emphasize that all these vaccines are extremely promising, so we shouldn’t get caught up in the brand because all three prove to save lives and slow the spread. I would much rather feel safe with a vaccine then wait for a specific brand that might take weeks or months longer to get.

Of course, many Americans don’t share the same opinion as me and won’t listen to the scientists. This pandemic and the vaccine rollout have been extremely confusing, scary and tiring. Our society today is naturally evolving to become more attracted to the best of the best. 95% sounds a lot better than 72%. However, we have to remember that these numbers are much higher than early predictions of efficacy. Only a few short months ago, many experts said they would be happy with an efficacy rate of at least 50%, so these vaccines are well above what was expected in terms of effectiveness. 

Now more than ever, it is necessary for us to do our part and get vaccinated when it is our turn–– regardless of what brand is offered to us. And remember: you’re not only helping yourself, but you’re protecting others too.