The urgency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the development and production of a number of vaccines for global mass distribution. Within around a year from the start of the pandemic, vaccines were being approved for use. The approved vaccines being used in Europe at this point in time are those produced by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Preliminary data for these vaccines shows that they are highly effective in reducing infections and severe disease in older adults.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines fall under the mRNA category. To produce an immune response, many vaccines place a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. This is not the case with mRNA vaccines. What they do is teach cells how to make a protein, or just a piece of it, triggering an immune response. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects people from getting infected if the real virus enters their bodies.
The mRNA vaccines have a slight edge when it comes to efficacy over the one produced by AstraZeneca. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are around ninety five percent effective whilst the one produced by AstraZeneca is over seventy percent. The vaccine produced by AstraZeneca is the easiest to store and transport, due to the lower refrigeration temperature required. The second dose of the vaccine is also given twelve weeks after the first, acting as a booster. The Pfizer and Moderna second doses are normally given three weeks after the first.
In Malta, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being given to those of older age and classified as most vulnerable. Other segments of society, those working with larger amounts of people are taking the AstraZeneca vaccine. Symptoms of the vaccine will vary amongst different people, however the most common seem to be fever, tiredness and soreness on the area where it was administered.
Another vaccine which is set to join the fold is the one being produced by Johnson and Johnson. This vaccine has already been authorised in the States and approval for use within Europe seems to be imminent. Data points towards an over seventy percent effectiveness rate, which is encouraging. This vaccine may serve to prove itself as the game changer, considering that it consists solely of a single dose, requiring less resources to administer.
The vaccination campaign is dubbed as the exit strategy from this dreadful pandemic. What are your views on the vaccines available? Let us know your views in the comments section below.