Now that three coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, many are wondering whether they will be able to choose which vaccine they receive. The expert consensus on this question is that people should not “shop around” and instead take the first vaccine that is offered to them.
“If someone has an opportunity to get vaccinated, do it as soon as possible,” says Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health. “Do not wait or hesitate or vaccine shop. The more people we get vaccinated as soon as possible is extremely important. We’re in a race against the virus, right? It’s not just having the vaccine, it’s really getting it into people’s arms,” she tells the TODAY show.
The Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines showed an efficacy rate of around 95 percent. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen’s adenovirus vector vaccine was also approved, though the efficacy rates were slightly lower. However, since the vaccines were tested in different environments and are all equally effective at preventing death and hospitalizations, experts emphasize that people should get the first vaccine that is available to them.
It is possible that people may be able to choose which vaccine they receive at some point, but experts estimate that the country is at least several months away from this.
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