VACCINE TEAM | Which vaccine is most effective? When will inmates get vaccinated?

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As we continue to watch vaccines roll out across Kentucky, we are here to answer your questions on the vaccine.

Which vaccine is the most effective?

It’s a complicated question to answer.

The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies. The two vaccines available since December were highly effective at 90% after two doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. In testing, the vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

The study is the government’s first assessment of how the shots have been working beyond the drugmakers’ initial experiments. Besides the 90% figure for two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the study found they were 80% effective for participants two weeks or more after a first dose.

The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“People really should take whichever vaccine is available to them. You can’t compare these vaccines head to head because they were tested in different circumstances. They are all highly effective,” said Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group. “The upside of this new vaccine is it’s only one dose. When you get that second dose of the messenger RNA vaccines ― Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna ― you have a higher rate of side effects than with the first dose. The nice part about this new vaccine is you don’t get as many side effects as you do with the others, and it’s also much more convenient not to have to schedule that second visit.”

When is Kentucky going to start vaccinations for inmates in jails and prisons?

State inmates started receiving vaccines in March.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the Department of Corrections plans to receive additional doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by April 5. The plan is offer vaccinations to all interested inmates as soon as next week at all prisons, expect for two facilities. The Kentucky State Penitentiary and Western Kentucky Correctional Complex have inmates recovering from recent COVID-19 outbreaks so vaccines won’t be administered in those facilities until when it is safe to do so, according to the state.

I’m a retired senior citizen who lives in Midway. I want to get the vaccine, but I don’t have transportation to outside areas. Are they ever going to have a pharmacy or doctor’s office in Midway administering the vaccine so I can walk to it?

While it doesn’t appear there’s a vaccination site in Midway right now, that could change.

To search and find various vaccination sites, try the state’s vaccine map or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s search tool which also tells you which of the three approved vaccines each site has in stock.

Through a partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky and independent transportation network ITNBluegrass, free rides to vaccinations are available for low-income seniors. Call 859-252-8665 for more information.

My grandfather can’t leave the house to get one but there are people coming in and out of his house. Will there ever be a time when those who are home bound will be able to get a vaccination?

It’s still a challenge that the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is still working to resolve, but the new single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine might speed things along.

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines require careful handling and should not be transported once the vials are pierced. Each vial contains multiple vaccine doses, so that instability makes single doses in individual households a problem.

The Johnson & Johnson is an adenovirus-based vaccine and is less delicate than the other approved vaccine, making it more mobile. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has fewer storage and transportation requirements, which the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says could make it a good option in the future for those like your grandfather.

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