Contra Costa, Bay Area, Santa Cruz County health officers support all three COVID-19 vaccines

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine vial: photo by Arne Mueseler; Moderna Vaccine vial: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte; Johnson & Johnson Jansen Vaccine vial (right): photo by J&J.

Information on the vaccines not approved by FDA

On Monday, March 15, 2021, Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano in coordination with other health officers in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz County issued the following statement:

“As local health officers, we fully support all three currently available vaccines for COVID-19. All three vaccines are safe and have been shown to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic illness and hospitalization. The clinical trials for all three vaccines demonstrated that they were 100 percent effective in preventing deaths from COVID-19. There is also growing evidence that all three vaccines help prevent asymptomatic illness, too. This means that people who have been vaccinated are not likely to spread of COVID-19 to others who are not vaccinated.

There has been much debate about the advantages of one brand of vaccine over the other, but it’s difficult to compare their efficacy. The different brands of COVID-19 vaccines have not been studied in head-to-head comparisons. The vaccines have each been studied in slightly different groups of people and tested at different phases of the pandemic. The rates of community transmission and presence or absence of COVID-19 variants differed across studies.

What we can say with certainty is that all three vaccines provide levels of protection that are comparable to some of the best vaccines we have for other serious infectious diseases for which we routinely vaccinate people.

With COVID-19 continuing to circulate as we work toward community immunity, our collective medical advice is this: the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest. The different vaccines have different storage requirements and with supplies of vaccine currently limited, the same brand may not be available at each vaccine site consistently.

If you have questions about vaccine, speak to your medical provider if you have one. You can also learn more about vaccines on the state’s COVID-19 website.

This statement has been approved by health officers representing the city of Berkeley and the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma.”

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

According to the CDC’s website, the side effects of taking the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine include redness, swelling and pain at the injection site, as well as fever, fatigue, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and new or worsening joint and muscle pain. According to the company’s Feb. 12th press release, “The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 16 years of age and older.

According to a March 15the report on MedicalXpress.com, the “Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in actual use” and that “a previous real-world study revealed that the vaccine was 94 percent effective against symptomatic disease and 92 percent effective against asymptomatic disease, CBS News reported.”

Moderna Vaccine

According to the CDC’s website, the common side effects of taking the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine include pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you got the shot; and tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea throughout the rest of your body. According to the company’s Feb. 16th press release, “Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 18 years of age and older. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is investigational and not approved by FDA.”

Johnson & Johnson’s Jansen Vaccine

According to the CDC’s website, the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson Jansen COVID-19 Vaccine include pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you got the shot; and tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea throughout the rest of your body. It “is recommended for people aged 18 years and older.” Just like the other two vaccines, according to the Johnson & Johnson website, “The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized by the FDA through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The FDA EUA Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and full EUA Prescribing Information are available here.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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