Answering your vaccine questions: It’s difficult to choose which brand of vaccine you get

MADISON, Wis. — Many people have been asking News 3 Now through our Vaccine HQ question center whether you can choose which vaccine you get — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

The short answer is no. The vaccine that’s available at the time of your appointment is the vaccine you will get.

“At this point where we are, the best thing you can do for yourself and for other people is to get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available to you,” said Dr. Matt Anderson at UW Health.

Anderson said it’s difficult for a patient to choose which brand of vaccine they’ll receive because many vaccinators get just one vaccine at a time. And doctors are trying to get as many shots in arms as possible as quickly as possible.

For example, UW Health has only been getting Pfizer until this week when they got their first shipment of Johnson & Johnson. Anderson expects this will be the only shipment of Johnson & Johnson the health system gets.

Some people might prefer Johnson & Johnson because it is only one shot.

“We’d all like to have more Johnson & Johnson available in the community right now I think, the supply is still coming here in the next couple of weeks,” said Anderson.

He said DHS has made it known that Johnson & Johnson will mainly go to smaller pharmacies, public health departments and rural areas.

But he said people should not wait until Johnson & Johnson is available. If you do, that means more time risking getting the virus and longer until we’re all back to normal.

If you need Johnson & Johnson because of an allergy to mRNA vaccines, which is rare, Anderson recommends you talk to your provider. The provider can contact its partners to find you one.

“But if somebody was just adamant and there wasn’t a medical reason that they needed to (get Johnson & Johnson), it really would require them sort of reaching out or around to different vaccinators and trying to find out what’s where. And they may have to wait a little bit longer,” said Anderson.

In the future, you could be able to choose your vaccine.

“Six months, a year from now, let’s say we have to have a booster or something like that. There may be that opportunity, but right now where we’re at it’s really about we have three highly effective vaccines that prevent serious illness, hospitalization. They really are equivalent in that respect,” said Anderson.