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What to Know: Differences between the COVID-19 vaccines |

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What to Know: Differences between the COVID-19 vaccines

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Moderna. Pfizer. Johnson & Johnson. You may be wondering about the differences between the COVID-19 vaccines.

8 News Now spoke with a local physician to learn what you should know about the three.

The Southern Nevada Health District expects the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be available at all clinics, like the Neighborhood Recreation Center in North Las Vegas, very soon. Right now, they're making sure each are equipped to handle the three vaccines.

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the one-shot vaccine, many were left wondering which vaccine they should get.

Johnson & Johnson is a "viral vector" vaccine and utilizes DNA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say this vaccine will put a modified version of a different virus, such as the common cold, into a cell. This process produces a harmless component of the COVID-19 virus. The immune system will recognize it doesn't belong there and fight it off.

Pfizer and Moderna are "messenger RNA" (mRNA) vaccines, which the CDC says teaches cells to make that same harmless component of COVID-19 and fight it off.

Dr. Michael Allswede is the program director for Sunrise Health GME Consortium on Emergency Medicine, a field he's worked in for 27 years. He also serves on the Team Health Science Advisory Board for COVID-19 Vaccine subcommittee.

He says there's no data to show one vaccine will work better for certain groups over others. It comes down to availability.

"The choice isn't really between the vaccine. The choice is between getting a vaccine, if you can get one, or to get the COVID infection, which you definitely do not want," Allswede explained. "All of these vaccines prevent the severe form of COVID, which is the one you want to prevent."

He says the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine may appeal more to those with busy schedules, those that travel and those who cannot make it back for a second appointment.

Since DNA is tougher than mRNA, it can also be stored at warmer temperatures and left out longer, which makes it easier to distribute.

For more information on the mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, click here. For information on viral vector vaccines, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, click here.

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