The Latest: Does it matter which vaccine you get?

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
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2 min readFeb 3, 2021

Dear Reader,

The vaccine rollout is happening worldwide with varied success. But the promise of adding more vaccines to the arsenal is really encouraging news. AstraZeneca and University of Oxford released data today showing their vaccine cuts down on transmission. Great!

As I wrote earlier this week, some may wonder what happens if some vaccines are more effective than others. On a population level, researchers have found that it makes sense to vaccinate with whatever is available (given it’s safe and effective).

But what about on a personal level? Epidemiologist Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz puts it really well, saying: Forget about society for a moment. What’s important to you? It’s probably not getting really sick from Covid-19 or dying from it. These vaccines, which are safe, prevent that from happening. Here’s his advice:

“The choice, at least in my mind, is relatively simple. Take the vaccine you are offered. If it’s been approved, it’s pretty safe, and is almost certain to make you far safer against the things you really care about than you would be otherwise.”

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick Q&A: What happens if there are multiple vaccines with varying effectiveness?

In a recent modeling study, researchers argue that in most pandemic situations you should give people whatever vaccines are available even if there are efficacy differences. Vaccinating people with whichever vaccine is available will prevent hospitalizations and health care costs. While some Covid-19 vaccines might have higher reported efficacy rates than others, overall, the currently available vaccines and vaccines that may be approved for use (such as Johnson & Johnson’s) all look effective and safe.

Read more.

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More Good News About Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine

Delayed Covid-19 Vaccination Causes More U.S. Deaths

When There’s Multiple Vaccines, Experts Say Vaccinate With What’s Available

Essential explainers

Racial Inequities in the Vaccine Rollout

Your Microbiome Could Play a Role in Your Covid-19 Response

Why Exercising Is So Tricky After Covid-19

A few more smart reads

Why More People Are Coming Out as Trans in the Pandemic

Covid Epi Weekly: To Arms, To Arms!

The Unexpected Case of the Disappearing Flu

Why Did Philadelphia Allow a 22-Year-Old to Run Its Covid Vaccine Sites?

Comparing three Covid-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, J&J (STAT News)



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that