Mississippians may soon have another option for a coronavirus vaccine that only requires one shot, and health officials are still urging residents to remain vigilant through wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands.
The new Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the FDA. But health officials say it's not as effective. Johnson and Johnson's study revealed the one-dose vaccine overall is 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses, are around 95% effective at preventing COVID-19. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says residents will need to decide which vaccine they want. He says “Although the Pfizer and Moderna [vaccines] are not interchangeable, they are in their efficacy data. And so it really hasn’t mattered as much [when] you get a vaccine. Now we want people to know that you’re getting a Johnson and Johnson and what goes with that.”
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been declining in Mississippi for the past month. But State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs is warning residents not to get complacent in wearing masks and social distancing. He says downward trends were reversed twice in the state when residents began to act like the virus was gone. “It’s optimistic that we’ve got vaccine going. That's a good thing. We still have a lot of susceptible people out there and you know only about 12% of Mississippians have received one dose of vaccine. But I don’t think we can say anything until about a week after spring break to see what kind of trends we’re going to see because when people travel, when people go and visit family and they’re running around, pow, that’s when we see our increases
Health officials say even those who have been vaccinated should continue wearing masks to prevent asymptomatic transmission of the virus.