When considering vaccines, you want to make the right choice. How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine work? Is it really safe? Keep reading for the information you need to decide if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is right for you.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Official Name: Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): Ad26.COV2.S; alternate names: J&J vaccine; Ad26COVS1; JNJ-78436735
Vaccine Type: Non-Replicating Viral Vector (1 dose)
Because the pandemic meant that vaccines were developed in nontraditional circumstances, vaccines that pass rigorous testing are considered “authorized for emergency use.” The following entities have authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use:
- 55 countries, including the United States
- Africa Regulatory Taskforce
- World Health Organization (WHO)
How it works
Non-replicating viral vector vaccines are made by taking Covid-19 genetic material and injecting it into another virus that can’t copy itself. This cell teaches the body how to make S proteins, which encase Covid-19 cells.
When the body detects the presence of the S protein, antibodies are created that can identify and fight off the Covid-19 virus. The J&J vaccine proved 100% effective at preventing hospitalization for Covid-19 at 28 days after vaccination.
Expected side effects
It is normal for some people to experience mild to moderate side effects, including:
- Pain, redness, and swelling at the site of injection
- Headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, and fever
There is a low risk that you make experience some rare but serious reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which include:
Severe allergic reaction
Select people may experience severe allergic reactions within one hour of receiving the vaccine. Your vaccination provider may request that you stay onsite after receiving your vaccination to ensure you don’t have a reaction.
If you do not remain onsite and experience any of the following reactions within one hour of receiving your dose, get medical attention immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face and throat
- Rapid heartbeat
- Body rash
- Dizziness and weakness
- Blood Clots
Most people affected were women ages 18-49 years old, though it is important to emphasize the chances of this happening are remote. Blood clots may develop in the brain, abdomen, and legs, possibly linked to low platelet levels, a disorder known as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS).
If you experience any of the following symptoms within 1-2 weeks following vaccination, seek medical attention right away:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Leg swelling
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Severe or chronic headache, or blurred vision
- Easy bruising, or tiny blood spots under the skin (aside from the site of injection)
- In July 2021, a news release indicated the Johnson and Johnson vaccine provided strong protection from the Delta Variant. The study indicates that immunity may actually improve over time, though more research is needed to determine how long that effect will continue.
- In April 2021, use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was briefly paused due to reports of 15 cases of TTS reported in women. The pause was lifted after officials added warnings regarding TTS and improved the screening process to identify those who may be at risk.
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