COVID-19 Vaccination & Duchenne –
What You Need To Know

We all have spent the last several months doing our best to keep ourselves and our families safe, while adjusting to this new virtual world. PPMD recognizes this has been nothing short of challenging, and we remain committed to providing support, community engagement, and the most accurate and up-to-date information possible during a time of unknowns. This extends to new learnings of COVID-19 vaccines, which PPMD believes to be the best form of protection against the virus, and we hope is a potential solution to alleviate this pandemic.

Please continue to submit questions to, so we can continue to adapt our resources to your concerns.

Vaccines Currently Available for COVID-19

 PfizerModernaJanssen Biotech/Johnson and Johnson
Vaccine PlatformmRNA encased in lipid nanoparticles (fat bubbles) to keep it from degradingmRNA encased in lipid nanoparticles (fat bubbles) to keep it from degradingRecombinant, replication-incompetent human adenovirus type 26 vector
Age of Inclusion12 years +18 years +18 years +
AccessibilityStorage between -94 degrees Fahrenheit (institutional research freezers), stable x5 days after thaw-4 degrees Fahrenheit (regular freezer), stable x30 days after thaw and at room temperature for 12 hours36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (regular refrigerator); or 47 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (room temperature) for up to 12 hours
Dosing Schedule2 injections given 3 weeks apart2 injections given 28 days apart Single dose
Efficacy95% effective95% effective85% effective in preventing severe/critical COVID-19 occurring at least 28 days after vaccination, 100% effective in preventing death
Possible Side EffectsPain at injection site, fatigue, mild fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, fever; younger adults have reported more side effects than older adults Pain at injection site, fatigue, mild fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, fever; younger adults have reported more side effects than older adults Pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea
Need for future booster shotsYes, if immunocompromised. Administer at least 28 days after second dose.Yes, if immunocompromised. Administer at least 28 days after second dose.Unknown

* Table reflects COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of August 13, 2021.


The new mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the US are a little different from conventional vaccines. The vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna both include genetic material consisting of messenger RNA (mRNA) particles that encode for the spike protein from the COVID-19 vaccine encased in a lipid nanoparticle (tiny fat bubble) that allows the mRNA to remain intact and keep the fragile mRNA from being degraded.

Injecting the mRNA instructs your body’s cells to make a piece of the spike protein from the virus. Each time the body’s cells replicate this tiny piece of the spike protein, it is alerted that there is now a foreign protein in the body and is prompted to create antigens to the protein.

By developing its own antibodies to the COVID-19 spike protein, the body mounts an immune response to that protein, protecting the body against the invader.

Learn more >

How the new adenovirus-based vaccine for COVID-19 is different

The FDA recently approved, under emergency use authorization, Janssen Pharmaceuticals – Johnson and Johnson’s new COVID-19 vaccine. The Janssen vaccine is the first adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use, which is different than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are mRNA-based.

Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine uses a type of adenovirus, specifically adenovirus type 26 (Ad26), to deliver a piece of the DNA that is used to make the distinctive “spike” protein seen in SARS-CoV-2. Adenoviruses are relatively common and can cause a variety of mild illnesses in humans. However, Ad26, which typically causes the common cold and pink eye, is modified so that it cannot replicate nor cause illness, and instead transports the necessary genetic material into the body, prompting it to create the spike protein and generate an immune response against COVID-19.

It is important to differentiate between adenovirus, which is the vector used in the Janssen vaccine, and adeno-associated virus, which is used to delivery gene therapies in clinical trials for the treatment of Duchenne and other genetic conditions. While their names are similar, their molecular patterns (antigens) are distinct, so immunity to one type does not give immunity to another type.

Because of this key difference, the Janssen vaccine is safe for people with Duchenne to receive, including those who have received or hope to receive gene therapy.

However, if a vaccine were approved using an adeno-associated virus platform, it would be important for people wishing to receive gene therapy to avoid it.



On December 11, 2020, PPMD invited Dr. Tim Cripe, who brings expertise on vaccine development and clinical trials, and Dr. Tim Franson, who offers insight into the FDA and regulatory pathways, to guide us through currently available data on vaccine mechanisms of action, development, and regulatory pathways for approval and distribution by joining us for a webinar to discuss what we know.

COVID-19 Sample Vaccination Letter

As states continue to move through their phase 1 COVID-19 vaccination distribution protocols, PPMD wants to make sure you are equipped with resources to advocate for priority access. For this reason, we have developed a sample letter to provide to your primary care provider or local health administration in support of you or your child ages 16 or older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest opportunity. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and Duchenne, please visit our COVID-19 hub.

Download Sample Letter >

Additional Resources