SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There are two COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved so far in the U.S., and there could soon be more coming.

Infectious disease experts don’t want you to be worried about any slight differences between the vaccines. They are insignificant towards the long term goal of building herd immunity in our country.

Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are almost identical to each other in the way they create immunity.
The only real difference is that Moderna’s includes a slightly higher dose, so its administered 28 days apart, rather than 21 days apart like Pfizer.

Oxford-Astrazeneca, which is being used in the United Kingdom, uses similar technology but it has a slightly lower efficacy rate of about 70 percent, and doesn’t have to be stored in freezing temperatures like Pfizer’s.

If approved, Johnson and Johnson’s, would be the first vaccine to have just one dose.

Local doctors told 22News why having as many vaccines as possible is so crucial in defeating this pandemic.

Dr. Daniel Skiest, Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine and Infectious Disease Physician at Baystate Medical Center told 22News, “We need to do everything we can in our power to get herd immunity up which means enough people have immunity so this virus can stop being easily transmitted.”

“All of the data we have reviewed thus far, which includes that for Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine, is that these are safe and effective vaccines. So you should not hesitate for a moment at accepting them at this point,” said Dr. Robert Roose, Chief Medical Officer of Mercy Medical Center.

Dr. Roose said its important to note the flu vaccine typically has had an efficacy rate between 40 and 60 percent, so its actually very impressive how much more effective these COVID vaccines are.

He also told 22News he just got his second dose of the vaccine and is feeling well, with the only side effect being a little arm soreness.