Covid-19 Update: What is Happening with Vaccines?


Sophia Bowman

So, what is the recent information of the Covid-19 vaccines? Well the exciting news is that many individuals have them today and more people are getting them everyday. However, this is a very overwhelming process. Sometimes there are not enough vaccines to distribute, not enough time, or even not enough people to give them to others. The main vaccines being distributed in two doses include Moderna and Pfizer. Now, these vaccines have been approved for a while and have seemingly been effective. Moderna has been proven about 94% effective and Pfizer has been proven about 95% effective. Both vaccines are very helpful and significant for Covid-19, so individuals do not really choose which ones they receive. It depends on the location and the time to determine which vaccine a person will receive. Although Pfizer and Moderna are doing significantly better than other vaccines out there, Johnson & Johnson is on its way to the top. The FDA had been deciding whether the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was safe and effective. After lots of studying and more look into the vaccine, the FDA approved it. However, Johnson & Johnson still has to prepare and ship them out before they can distribute them. So, it may not be for a few weeks until the vaccine is out officially. But, what are some of the negatives with this vaccine? Well, this vaccine is only about 72% effective in the U.S. and surprisingly even less in other areas of the world. This puts Johnson & Johnson in a competitive position compared to Pfizer and Moderna. Though, this vaccine is not out of the question. It has been tested on multiple ethnicities and ages of different people. It hasn’t shown any information of causing harsher symptoms than provided from Covid-19 or normal vaccine symptoms. 

How does it work? Similar to Moderna and Pfizer, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses spike proteins. These spike proteins are from genes and go into the cells of a human. If an individual had the Covid-19 virus, the virus would attack the cells and try to take over the body. But, with these spike proteins in the cells, the antibodies can be created against the virus. Then, the virus will be prevented and protected against. Of course there are still chances the virus can get into the cells, but the antibodies will be able to fight off the virus. The person will not get the virus as badly as a person without the vaccine, but they will technically still have it. How are the spike proteins made? Each cell of the human body contains DNA or genes. These genes are used to reveal physical traits of an individual and are usually inherited from parents. In the process of making regular proteins for the body, the double stranded DNA is copied by the single stranded RNA. Then, this RNA becomes a messenger to other parts of the cells to produce proteins. Moderna and Pfizer adjusted the RNA so that it would create spike proteins against the virus. Johnson & Johnson is doing something a little different. They are starting from the source and adjusting the DNA so that when the RNA copies it, the code for these spike proteins against the virus will already be there. Both methods allow for antibodies to be created in the end, but they just use different elements to get to this conclusion. Therefore, Johnson & Johnson is effective, but because it is different from Moderna and Pfizer, it is not that effective—yet.