What to know about Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccines (so far)

Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce / Virginia Mercury/States Newsroom

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

More than 1 million Arizonans have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but unlike other immunizations, there are different vaccines that are being offered, leaving many to wonder: What differences are there between the available vaccines and does it matter which one I get? 

Public health officials across the nation and Arizona have a simple answer: The first one a person should get is the best vaccine.

“Whatever vaccine is available to you and whenever you can get an appointment please do it,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, the medical director for disease control at the Maricopa County Health Department. “Please get the one you have available.”

Related: Newscast: Investigation into fake COVID-19 vaccines, food assistance grows, teachers worry about coronavirus // East Valley to get state-run COVID-19 vaccine site next week // ‘The balance of risk has shifted’: Cancer screenings plunge during pandemic

 

There are currently three main COVID vaccines being used around the world, with a fourth expected to receive approval soon, but only two are being used in Arizona at the moment. 

Vaccines made by both Moderna and Pfizer are currently available in Arizona, and each requires two doses, administered roughly a month apart. But the one-dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, which is still awaiting federal approval, will be coming to Arizona “in a couple of weeks,” Sunenshine said. 

The novelty of the vaccines, and their importance in combating the pandemic, have made the companies that produce them household names in a way that hasn’t happened before. 

What these vaccines have in common with other vaccines is that they still work by delivering a viral protein to our body’s cells, which triggers an immune response and thus trains our immune systems to effectively attack the virus, Webby said. 

It’s the delivery method in each vaccine that sets each vaccine apart and is changing how we could do vaccines in the future. 

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