Availability and Background among reasons people in Michiana choose COVID-19 Vaccines

NOW: Availability and Background among reasons people in Michiana choose COVID-19 Vaccines

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Indiana expanded its COVID-19 eligibility to anyone ages 16 and up on Wednesday. With three vaccines to choose from, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, people in South Bend said there are various factors that impacted their vaccine choice.

"I chose Pfizer because I felt it was a better option," Kathy Ryans, who already got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, said. I did not want the Johnson and Johnson because it's not the MRNA and it came about too fast."

Dr. James Harris, the medical director for the Center for Research at the South Bend Clinic, oversaw clinical trials for the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. He said the side effects of all three vaccines are similar. So, similar that they should not play a factor in picking one, he said.

"I've seen reactions to all three of them now," Dr. Harris said. "I've seen quite a few shots of the J&J Vaccine, and I've seen reactions with that. So, people say they have a preference for one or the other. I say the best one to get is the one that's available because you really can't predict who's going to react. You can't predict who's going to have a problem with the shot."

Joe Tran, who has not yet registered for his vaccine, disagreed with Dr. Harris on getting the next available shot. He said he and others should still do their own homework.

"Vaccines affect people differently," Tran said. "Just because they say it's available does not mean that it will be safe for you. Historically, we've seen new things that come out, and they're not effective. In fact, they can be destructive."

Tran said he wanted to keep gathering data and doing research for about another six months before choosing which vaccine was best for him.

For some, the decision on which vaccine to get is made for them as soon as they get online to register because of whatever vaccine might be available. Some vaccination sites said they only carry one or two of the three options. Some with the Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine were booked until August at the earliest, but for people like Michelle Guzman, the single dose was the most important thing.

"(The reason I got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is) just that it was a one and done," Guzman said.

Others like Kreila Cote, who has gotten her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, said availability was the most important thing.

"The place that I did go to only had the Pfizer vaccine," Cote said. "So, it worked in my favor that I got the one that I had wanted in the first place, but I probably would have gotten any one offered to me just so that I knew that I was vaccinated."

Health officials agreed the best vaccine to get was the one that's most readily available.

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