Mayor, City Health Officials Push To Nail The Messaging Around Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

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The town’s first provide of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is predicted to reach in a matter of days however some are nonetheless expressing considerations about whether or not it’s as efficient because the Pfizer and Moderna choices that spearheaded the primary months of the rollout. Mayor Invoice de Blasio and prime metropolis well being officers mentioned at a press convention Monday that they need to change folks’s perceptions concerning the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which they are saying has unfairly gotten a foul wrap.

“We do perceive that is going to be a communication problem,” mentioned Dr. Jay Varma, senior public well being advisor to the mayor’s workplace. “The one most essential message is that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 100% protecting in opposition to folks dying from COVID and nearly 100% protecting in opposition to folks being hospitalized.”

This stage of safety in opposition to extreme illness, reported final week by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, paralleled the findings from medical trials for Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines. However a reporter from NY1 questioned whether or not, in making an attempt to make use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to succeed in folks in marginalized teams, they may fear they’re getting an inferior product.

That’s as a result of the FDA discovered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be about 66% efficient when average circumstances have been thought of alongside the worst circumstances of the illness. That mark is nearer to 90% for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Look nearer on the outcomes for extreme illness, and one would discover that Johnson & Johnson’s efficacy is 90% for youthful adults, however drops to 70% for these older than 60.

Varma mentioned he believed the disparities in effectiveness have been overstated, a degree echoed Monday throughout the second session of a assessment listening to on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. CDC officers mentioned retaining folks from dying is the utmost precedence, which the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is poised to do whereas additionally reaching extra folks as a result of it solely requires a single dose.

Mayor de Blasio mentioned the one-shot requirement is a gamechanger, notably for hard-to-reach populations. If he’s provided the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as soon as he’s eligible to get vaccinated, he mentioned he would bounce on the probability to take it.

“The one method we’re going to succeed in homebound seniors is with a vaccine that doesn’t require as a lot refrigeration and is simpler to make use of,” he mentioned. “Our elders should be vaccinated so we’ve got to encourage folks, not discourage them.”

Varma argued that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was at a drawback as a result of the medical trials testing its efficacy happened after new variants of COVID-19 started to emerge, specifically in Brazil and South Africa the place the drug firm held a few of its international trials. This level isn’t solely correct, as one arm of the J&J trial happened in North America and started properly earlier than the variants have been found. That North American trial discovered the vaccine to be about 72% efficient. Nonetheless, public well being specialists agree that it is very important deal with the vaccine’s capacity to forestall critical sickness and demise.

“I imagine very a lot that our hospitals will see decreases in numbers of hospitalizations and deaths if folks take the primary vaccine they’ve obtainable,” Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of NYC Well being + Hospitals, mentioned on the press convention Monday. “I intend to suggest [the Johnson & Johnson vaccine] for my sufferers, particularly my homebound sufferers.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will arrive amid town’s ongoing efforts to deal with disparities in entry to the dear photographs.

Shifting ahead, de Blasio mentioned his administration goals to depend on smaller, “grassroots” vaccine websites in locations like church buildings, public housing, and excessive colleges. He mentioned provide needs to be moved away from massive websites that aren’t focusing on particular populations, citing the state-run websites touted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Non-city residents have up to now made up 75% of individuals vaccinated on the state-run Aqueduct Racetrack website in Queens and 42% of individuals vaccinated on the state-run Javits Middle website, in accordance with metropolis information offered by the mayor. De Blasio distinguished these websites from massive vaccination hubs that concentrate on particular populations, such because the city-run websites at Citi Subject in Queens, Yankee Stadium within the Bronx, and the Empire Shops on Staten Island.

“Going ahead, [getting] increasingly of the vaccine to the websites meant for folks from every borough to the websites all the way down to the grass roots in communities—that is what is going on to assist us obtain increasingly fairness,” he mentioned.

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