As more vaccines become readily available to be distributed, California is allowing people aged 16 and up to be eligible to receive the vaccine starting in mid-April. Recently, however, the administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been paused.
Currently, 29.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in California, and 11.4 million Californians have been fully vaccinated, which represents 28.8% of the population in California.. As of April 1, Californians aged 50 and up were eligible to receive the vaccine, and those aged 16 and up became eligible on April 15.
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has approved two COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Both Pfizer and Modern require two doses to be fully vaccinated. Some of the common side effects of both vaccines include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, and joint pain.
The Janssen vaccine, or most commonly known as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, used to be approved, but federal health authorities have advised to pause the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, due to a rare side effect involving blood clots. Approximately 7.2 millions doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S., but six women aged 18 to 45 developed a rare blood clotting disorder called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).
What differentiates the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the Johnson and Johnson one is the fact that the two former vaccines are made using mRNA, or messenger RNA. The mRNA carries genetic code that informs cells on how to make a surface protein on the SARS-2 virus. The proteins then activate the immune system and cause the body to create antibodies to fight against the foreign proteins. On the other hand, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses “viral vector” technology that has been engineered to carry the genetic code on how to make the SARS-2 protein when injected. It is not a live virus vaccine, but instead an inactive virus, so you can’t contract COVID-19 when you receive the vaccine.
Silver Creek seniors, Kaylie Visitacion and Dustin Tran, recently received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and they detailed their experiences with that specific vaccine. Kaylie said, “I was initially scared of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but my aunt and mom convinced me that the added protection of it was better than nothing. Right after getting the shot, I didn’t feel sick, but my arm was just sore. But, the next day, I woke up feeling sick and tired throughout the day, even after taking some medicine.”
Dustin also disclosed, “After getting the vaccine, I laid in bed all day, and I couldn’t sleep because I was burning up with a fever. Even after taking some medicine, I had a headache that persisted for a few days after the shot.”
If you are interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Santa Clara county, you can book an appointment at medical centers, such as Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics, or at retail pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, or Safeway.