Doctors Are Warning You Not to Wait for This One Vaccine

One expert said that waiting for this shot "doesn’t make any sense."

States are continuing to open up vaccine appointments to more and more people, and as pharmacies are shipped their own supply, your chance to get the COVID vaccine might come sooner rather than later. While vaccine hesitancy is still a very real problem, doctors have a new worry when it comes to people getting vaccinated: vaccine delays. Some experts are concerned that people may be waiting to get a specific vaccine—postponing their chance to get the COVID shot, even if they're already eligible. Now, doctors are warning individuals not to wait for a certain vaccine. Read on to find out why you shouldn't be waiting, and for essential vaccine guidance, If This Happens After Your Vaccine, the FDA Says You Should Call 911.

You shouldn't wait to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Senior male doctor vaccinates a young man in a doctor's office
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As more and more people receive second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines, there are increasing reports of more notable side effects following the second dose—which both vaccines require. These reactions may worry those who haven't been vaccinated yet, but doctors are warning people not to wait for a different vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson's one-dose COVID vaccine, in the hope that it produces fewer side effects.

"We certainly expect that you're going to get this normal vaccine reaction with whatever vaccine you get, and it's way better than getting COVID," Roger Shapiro, MD, an assistant professor of immunology and infectious disease at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Boston 25 News. He added that waiting on a particular vaccine doesn't make sense if you are already eligible to get the COVID vaccine. "The first two vaccines, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, are really excellent vaccines. And waiting just really doesn't make any sense given the race against time we're facing here," Shapiro said. And for more on the one-shot vaccine, These Are the Side Effects of the New Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

This vaccine won't be available until March, at the earliest.

Johnson and johnson coronavirus Vaccine and syringe in the bottle or vial for injection in doctors hands. Covid-19, SARS-Cov-2 prevention, January 2021, San Francisco, USA.
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Johnson & Johnson recently applied for emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make it accessible in the country, like Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines. According to The New York Times, the FDA is expected to vote on whether or not to authorize the vaccine on Feb. 26. White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, said that, if approved, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely be available sometime in March.

Shapiro told Boston 25 News that's too long to wait if you don't have to, especially as new, more transmissible variants spread across the U.S. Christopher Gill, MD, a professor of global health at the Boston University School of Public Health, told Boston 25 News he agreed that waiting longer than necessary didn't make sense, given the number of coronavirus cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. "For the frontline workers who have just been working for eight months solidly dealing with patient after patient after patient after patient in the ICU or the wards, many of whom do not survive, this is not abstract. This is as bad as it really ever gets," Gill warned. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Johnson & Johnson has already reported side effects with its vaccine.

Distraught woman wearing face mask and measuring temperature while communicating on mobile phone at home.
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Waiting for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it might have fewer side effects may leave you disappointed, Shapiro said. After all, the manufacturer has already reported side effects that appeared during the vaccine's trials. According to trial data published on Jan. 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine, you could experience a fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and pain at the injection site after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine—all common side effects for Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines, as well. And for more on vaccine reactions, If You Have These Vaccine Side Effects, Don't Get Another Shot, CDC Says.

More intense side effects are normal after second vaccine doses.

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While side effects from the COVID vaccine may seem scary, they are normal and should only last a few days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And Shapiro says that increased reactions after your second dose are to be expected.

"This response means that the immune system recognizes the second vaccine. It's been primed. Your body is saying I've seen this once before and I know what to do, I'm going to react to it," he explained. "You want people to get this response to know that the immune system is responding." And for more vaccine reactions to be aware of, This COVID Vaccine Side Effect Could Show Up a Week After Your Shot.

Dr. Fauci said you should get whichever vaccine is available to you.

Patient in a medical consult wearing face mask
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During a Twitter Q&A with the White House COVID-19 Response Team on Feb. 4, Fauci seemingly agreed with Shapiro and Gill, saying you should take whichever vaccine is made first available to you—whether it's Moderna, Pfizer, or even Johnson & Johnson, assuming it gets authorized.

"I urge everyone to receive the vaccine that is made available to you," Fauci replied when asked by a Twitter user which vaccine he recommended. Fauci added that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and the upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccine "are all highly effective in preventing severe disease." And for more coronavirus news, If You're Over 65, You Could Be Missing This COVID Symptom, Study Says.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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