NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Now is not the time to vaccine shop. It’s a message echoed by medical professionals around the world. As most of Tennessee starts Phase 1c Monday, more people have access to immunization than ever before. But, some Tennesseans have delayed vaccination waiting for their shot of choice.
Director of Vanderbilt’s Vaccine Research Program, Buddy Creech, is closely involved in researching and studying several of the Covid-19 vaccines, and he’s confident with the findings.
“Right now, the most effective vaccine that we can get is the one that’s being offered to us in that moment,” he said.
According to Creech, all three vaccines are equally effective at what matters most. “These vaccines are nearly 100% affective at preventing Covid related hospitalizations and death.”
Reports that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is less effective at preventing severe disease than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has put doubt in the minds of some looking for the highest protection against Covid. But Creech explained certain percentages aren’t directly comparable.
“In one study, we might call any person who has a positive test and two to three symptoms moderate to severe infection. That’s really important. When we get into the weeds, when we get into the nuisance, we realize that we really shouldn’t be comparing 70% efficacy to 95% efficacy.”
Instead, he said compare how effective these vaccines are in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
“Quite frankly,” Creech said, “They’re all doing a fantastic job.”
The single dose J & J vaccine, which doesn’t require cold storage like the others, may also help protect populations who might otherwise not have easy access to a shot.
“That really gives a lot of flexibility to our Urban Centers who may be caring for individuals who may be more transit. It also allows us to take this into communities that are often under served with vaccines whether those are our homeless populations, whether that be rural populations.”
Most importantly, Creech said the focus shouldn’t be which vaccine you’re receiving but rather how quickly can you get immunized.
“Right now in the pandemic,” Creech explained, “It’s critically important that we vaccinate as many people as we can. That’s what’s going to rid us of this virus.”
From availability to current phases, find vaccine information for every Tennessee county using News 2’s Vaccine Tracker map.