What to Know About the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine  

by Amy Barczy

| 2 min read

Doctor administers a vaccine to a patient
Another COVID-19 vaccine is available to communities across the country as the fight to end the pandemic continues. As of Feb. 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 18 and older. There are some key differences between the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the two COVID-19 vaccines that were the first to be administered in the U.S. made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. However, all produce a significant immune response against the virus that causes COVID-19 and officials recommend you take the vaccine that is available to you. Here’s what you need to know.

One Shot

Only one shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is needed, while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two shots. 

Vaccine Technology

The new Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses an artificial portion of the coronavirus to teach your body how to respond to a possible infection. Once the vaccine is administered, the body is prompted to produce antigens, which then tell the immune system to make immune cells and antibodies to COVID-19. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA to prompt a response from your immune system. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA use a live virus, which means none of the vaccines can give someone COVID-19.


Johnson & Johnson claims its COVID-19 vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and 85% effective in preventing severe to critical COVID-19 at least 28 days after being vaccinated. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was completely effective in preventing COVID-19 related deaths during clinical trials. The company also states the vaccine offers protection against multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the B.1.351 variant from South Africa that has been detected in the U.S.


As this new vaccine only requires one shot and does not need to be stored in extreme cold temperatures, it offers more flexibility to the COVID-19 vaccination effort.  Vaccine distribution is being coordinated by state and federal governments in cooperation with hospitals, health departments, retail pharmacies and healthcare providers, and availability depends upon your location. At this time, officials are recommending individuals take any of the vaccines that are available to them.
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Photo credit: FG Trade  

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