The Illinois COVID-19 Pharmacy Vaccine Task Force


IDPH FAQs Regarding The COVID-19 Vaccine
This article explains in laymen's terms what happens to the immune system when people receive a vaccine.

A New Vaccine by Johnson & Johnson


Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced (Feb 4, 2021) it has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its investigational single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate. the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses double-stranded DNA.

How Effective is this New Vaccine?  

Although clinical trial data has not yet been made available publicly, the company issued a press release describing some of the key observations. In the U.S., the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 72 percent in clinical trials. But in South Africa, where a new and more contagious COVID mutants has been found, the efficacy rate dropped to 57 percent. However, the vaccine was 85% effective in preventing severe disease (positive COVID-19 test plus one or more of following: tachypnea, tachycardia, hypoxia, hypoxemia, respiratory failure, shock, significant organ dysfunction, intensive care unit admission, or death) and 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations. This new vaccine was tested in more than 43,000 people in United States, Latin America and South Africa, including significant proportion of patients from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

How is this New vaccine different?

For this vaccine researchers added a gene for the coronavirus spike protein to another virus called Adenovirus 26. Adenoviruses are common viruses that typically cause colds or flu-like symptoms. The Johnson & Johnson team used a modified adenovirus that can enter cells but can’t replicate inside them or cause illness. This J&J vaccine comes out of decades of research on adenovirus-based vaccines.

Adenovirus-based vaccines for Covid-19 are more rugged than mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. As a result, the J&J vaccine is expected to remain stable for two years at -4°F (-20°C), at least three months of which can be stored in most standard refrigerators at temperatures of 36°F–46°F (2°-8°C). 

This will make the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine easier to distribute, particularly in poorer parts of the world, where issues of storage at cold temperatures will be a problem. Also, the new vaccine should work in countries where the new more aggressive COVID mutants are now causing COVID infections.

What are the Side Effects of this Vaccine?

Side effects appear to be lower with this vaccine than the already approved ones.

J&J reported that 9% of participants got a fever after injection, but less than 1% had a high fever; others reported pain and fatigue, but all side effects were short-lived. No one suffered a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), according to the company.


Experiments indicate the vaccine from Pfizer (Pfizer/BioNTech) may offer protection against the two new coronavirus variants found in the South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The existence of the coronavirus variants was first reported in December in the United Kingdom. These variants appear to be more infectious than the original coronavirus, but no more lethal. The UK variant has been found in more than 30 countries and at least six states in the US.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and Pfizer and developed a version of these new coronavirus variants in their laboratories. They examined blood samples from people who had been given the Pfizer vaccine and found that antibodies from those people were able to fight off the coronavirus virus variant.

These laboratory experiments suggest that the people who had been given the Pfizer vaccine may be protected from infections by these variants.

This research was published Thursday but has not been peer reviewed and did not study the full range of possible virus mutations.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, said his company is also testing their vaccine, which is similar to Pfizer's, against these variants and believes it will also prove effective against the UK coronavirus variant.


CNN. "Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine appears to work against mutation in new variants, study finds"

MSN. "Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine likely to work against new, rapidly-spreading variants: Study"

BioRXiv. "Neutralization of N501Y mutant SARS-CoV-2 by BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited sera"
A patient requested her COVID-19 vaccine be given in her thigh rather than the deltoid muscle of the arm, due to previous double mastectomy. Can either of the COVID-19 vaccines be given at a site other than the deltoid muscle of the arm?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that the anterolateral thigh can also be used as an injection site for either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.


Centers for Disease Control. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Standing Orders for Administering Vaccine to Persons 16 Years of Age and Older. Accessed January 13,2021

Centers for Disease Control. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Standing Orders for Administering Vaccine to Persons 18 Years of Age and Older