Dr. Fauci Says This Is How to Know Which Vaccine You Should Get
There are currently two vaccines available, but more may be on the way.
There are currently two COVID vaccines available in the U.S.—one from Moderna and another from Pfizer—and more vaccine candidates could become available as soon as March. So with multiple options on the table, which COVID vaccine should you get when your chance comes? When asked about the pros and cons of each vaccine, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, had a very simple answer. Read on to find out what the expert suggests, and for more on staying safe post-shot, find out why Dr. Fauci Says Doing This After Getting Vaccinated Is a Huge Mistake.
Fauci says you should get whichever COVID vaccine you can.
During a Twitter Q&A with the White House COVID-19 Response Team on Feb. 4, Fauci was asked which vaccine he specifically recommended. "Of all the vaccines available which one would you recommend based on trial results; effectiveness; length of immunity & number of doses required," a follower asked.
Simply put, Fauci said, "I urge everyone to receive the vaccine that is made available to you." He added that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and the upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccine "are all highly effective in preventing severe disease."
As The New York Times explained on Jan. 29, you probably won't be able to choose which vaccine you get anyway. Vaccine supply is already limited, so you'll likely be relegated to whichever vaccine you can secure in your state. The good news is, according to Fauci, your only choice is your best choice. And for more from the White House COVID expert, check out Dr. Fauci Says the CDC May Make This Major Mask Change Soon.
Both vaccines currently available are very similar.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer shots are messenger RNA or mRNA vaccines, meaning they do not contain any live virus. Also, neither appears to be much more effective than the other. According to the FDA, Pfizer's is 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID infection after two doses, while Moderna is close behind at 94.1 percent effective.
However, Pfizer's vaccine may be more likely to trigger anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions—although this reaction for either vaccine is extremely rare. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anaphylaxis has occurred at a rate of about 2.5 cases per one million doses given of the Moderna vaccine, while it has occurred at a rate of 11.1 cases per million doses of Pfizer's. However, this data is preliminary, so these rates could change over time as more people get vaccinated. And for more up-to-date COVID news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
A new vaccine may be available as soon as next month.
Moderna and Pfizer may not be the only vaccines in the mix soon, however. In the same Q&A, Fauci said that a new vaccine may be available as soon as next month: the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was just submitted to the FDA for emergency-use authorization on Feb. 4. If the FDA advisory committee determines that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine meets their efficacy and safety standards, "the vaccine could be available in March," Fauci said. This vaccine will be different from both Moderna's and Pfizer's, as it only requires one dose and does not to need to be stored at freezing temperatures. And for more on this vaccine, These Are the Side Effects of the New Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.
If you are under a certain age, you may have to get a specific vaccine.
Fauci recommends you get whichever vaccine is made available to you when the time comes—whether that be Moderna's, Pfizer's, or Johnson & Johnson's, when approved. However, you may only be able to get one of these vaccines if you're under a certain age. According to the CDC, Pfizer's vaccine is available for anyone 16 or older, while Moderna's is only available for anyone 18 or older. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine has also only been tried in those 18 or older, signifying that this may be the age requirement once it's authorized, too. And for more on where you can get your vaccine, If You Live in These States, You Can Now Get Vaccinated at Walmart.