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Nebraska Med doctor urges people to take whichever vaccine is offered to them

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Posted at 1:48 PM, Mar 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 00:57:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - A doctor with Nebraska Medicine is urging people not to refuse any of the coronavirus vaccines available to them.

Dr. Daniel Johnson is a critical care anesthesiologist who has been caring for coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit during the pandemic. In a social media post later published on the Nebraska Medicine website, he wrote that some people who have been offered the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine are turning it down because they want to hold out for either the Pfizer or Moderna options.

The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is about 72% effective at preventing coronavirus infections. That's lower than the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer options, but health officials have said not to stress about the percentages.

Dr. Johnson wrote all three vaccine options are safe and effective and none should be declined. He wrote the Johnson & Johnson vaccine proved especially effective against coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths.

"In the phase 3 trial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 21,895 people received the vaccine. At analysis on day 29, zero of those 21,895 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, and zero of those 21,895 people had died of COVID-19," Dr. Johnson wrote.

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Dr. Johnson cautioned people against thinking another option would be available if they turn down the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"There is no guarantee that you will have access to one of the alternatives if you decline the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," Dr. Johnson wrote. "You might contract the virus in the meantime. You might become critically ill or die. You might infect others in the meantime, and they might become critically ill or die."

Dr. Johnson, who received his vaccine shots a few months ago, predicted getting back to a more normal life can happen faster as more people are vaccinated.

"When more people get vaccinated, the spread of the virus will be greatly reduced. This means fewer people get sick, and fewer people die. It also means that we get back to our normal life more swiftly," he wrote.

As the pandemic surpasses the one year mark, Dr. Johnson wrote that he thinks we're in the "second half" of the battle. But in order to keep winning that battle, getting vaccinated is essential.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine expected to arrive in Nebraska this week

"Choosing not to receive a safe and effective vaccine against the virus is like choosing to soften up our defense against this very formidable opponent," Johnson wrote. "If we soften up our defense, our opponent will start winning again. If we get everyone vaccinated swiftly, the virus will not have the opportunity to mutate into new variants that are untouchable by existing vaccines."

As vaccine availability increases as the year goes on, Johnson suggests thinking of the thousands of patients who have suffered or passed away during the pandemic.

"Every single one of the COVID-19 patients I have witnessed struggling to stay alive would have given anything to go back in time and receive a vaccine that could prevent such misery," he wrote. "If our COVID-19 victims who have died could speak with you, they would beg you to get vaccinated."

MORE ABOUT DR. JOHNSON: Neb. Medicine doctor pens COVID-19 warning as cases rise

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