Your Entire Guide to The Coronavirus Vaccine

Covid 19 vaccine
Your Entire Guide to The Coronavirus Vaccine

 

Overview

Several laboratory and pharmaceutical companies are racing against time to come up with an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.

In fact, and as of the writing of this article, more than 150 companies are testing their vaccines in different phases of clinical trials.

Fortunately, the past few weeks successfully revealed the clinical trials’ results of five vaccines:

Moderna
Pfizer
AstraZeneca
Johnson & Johnson
Sanofi

In this article, we will tackle the different forms of COVID vaccines based on their mechanisms of action, efficacity, storage, and cost.

The different types of vaccines

1. Moderna

Moderna produces an RNA vaccine that generates an immune response against the SARS-CoV-2.

Here is how it works:

RNA vaccines are relatively new with a short record of success but an impressive use of our understanding of biology.

For SARS-CoV-2, lab experts will create an RNA strand of the virus and inject it into the bloodstream, where it will be incorporated into our own DNA by certain cells. Once this process is successful, the cells start synthesizing proteins using the viral RNA. Consequently, the immune system launches an inflammatory reaction against those specific proteins.

Dose of vaccine

According to reports, the Moderna vaccine requires two injections separated by a four week period.

Efficacy

Results from the III phase of clinical trials show that the vaccine’s effectiveness is around 95%, which is very impressive.

Storage

To maintain the structural integrity of the vaccine, it has to be stored in an environment of –20 Celsius. In this temperature, the vaccine remains effective for up to 6 months.

Cost

The cost for one vaccine injection is $33.

2. Pfizer

The vaccine produced with the collaboration of Pfizer and Biotech was the first one to finish phase III of the clinical trials, with a success rate of 95%.

Similar to the Moderna vaccine, Pfizer synthesizes an mRNA vaccine that pushes the cells to produce antigenic proteins, which eventually leads to immunity against the virus.

Dose of vaccine

The Pfizer vaccine requires two injections separated by a three week period.

Efficacy

Results from the III phase of clinical trials show that the vaccine’s effectiveness is around 95%.

Storage

To maintain the structural integrity of the vaccine, it has to be stored in an environment of –70 Celsius.

Cost

The cost for one vaccine injection is $20.

3. AstraZeneca

This vaccine is the result of a collaboration between AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The biotechnology used involves a viral vector, which works by the following mechanism:

During this process, scientists use another virus (e.g., Adenovirus) that gets modified in the lab to generate harmless immune reactions.

The caveat is incorporating SARS-CoV-2 genetic material into the DNA of the modified virus, which is then injected as a vaccine.

Once the modified virus infects healthy tissues, the cellular machinery starts producing proteins of the viral vector (Adenovirus) and SARS-CoV-2.

Examples of viral vectors:

Ebola

Note that researchers choose the viral vector depending on the tissues it infects. For instance, SARS-CoV-2 and Adenovirus both target the upper and lower respiratory systems.

Dose of vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine requires two injections separated by a three week period.

Efficacy

Results from the III phase of clinical trials show that the vaccine’s effectiveness is around 62-90%.

Storage

The AstraZeneca vaccine maintains its structural integrity in regular fridge temperatures.

Cost

The cost for one vaccine injection is $3.

4. Johnson & Johnson

The mechanism incorporated in this vaccine is identical to the AstraZeneca product, involving a viral vector that guides the viral genetic material into our cells.

Dose of vaccine

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one unique injection.

Efficacy

The effectiveness results of the J&J vaccine is still not available due to ongoing research.

Storage

To maintain the structural integrity of the vaccine, it has to be stored in an environment of –20 Celsius, which allows it to last for up to 2 years.

Cost

The cost for one vaccine injection is $10.

5. Sanofi

Sanofi is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of vaccines.

The company predicted to start mass production of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020; however, it recently came across the first setback.

Sanofi officials projected the production of 100 million injections of their vaccine by the end of 2020 and 1 billion doses by the end of 2021. Unfortunately, the disappointing results of the I and II phases of clinical trials are inevitably going to mess up this timeline.

So far, we do not really have much information about the Sanofi vaccine.

Other forms of vaccines

While the companies listed above use the technology of RNA and viral vectors to produce the vaccines, there are other forms that are worth noting.

These include:

Killed vaccines

As the name implies, this vaccine is obtained from a virus that’s been killed to prevent any multiplication in the body. Once we complete this step, the virus gets injected into the patient’s to trigger an immune response, and eventually, protect against the virus.

Examples:

Poliovirus, hepatitis A, rabies

Live attenuated vaccines

This vaccine is slightly more active, but researchers will remove the virulent properties from the virus to make it less aggressive and allow the immune system to produce a prompt response.

Examples:

Measles, mumps, rubella

Subunit vaccine

Subunit, or recombinant vaccines, use characteristic proteins found on the virus’s surface as an antigen. Once the immune system encounters these proteins, it will develop antibodies and cells specific to it, which get recruited if the patient catches the virus in the future.

Examples:

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who should get vaccinated?

According to research, all individuals at risk of contracting the virus should receive the COVID vaccine. For instance, front-line workers (e.g., doctors, nurses, postal workers) are at greater risk of getting the infection.

However, if you have concurrent medical conditions that compromise your immune system (e.g., HIV, chronic steroid use), you may want to speak with your doctor first.

Is the COVID vaccine dangerous for pregnancy?

Due to the exceptionally rapid development of this vaccine, researchers are still unsure about the full extent of its effectiveness and side effects. For instance, we cannot tell for sure the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women and the pediatric population.

However, the vast majority of candidates did not experience any concerning adverse effects.

How safe is the vaccine?

As just mentioned, the vast majority of participants who received the vaccine reported no side effects aside from minor pain and swelling at the site of injection.

If you had previous anaphylactic reactions to vaccines, it may be safer for you to avoid the COVID vaccine.

Does the current vaccine cover the new strains?

So far, we still don’t know whether the vaccine will be effective in preventing infections by new strains of the coronavirus.

In any case, immunity will be obtained through one or more of the following ways:

Herd immunity
The effectiveness of the original vaccine to the new strains
The development of a modified version of the vaccine against the new strains

Will Quality Primary Care provide the vaccine for patients?

Similar to other clinics around the U.S., Dr. Suresh Malik and his team applied to get the COVID vaccine. Once the vaccine is available, we will offer it to all interested patients.We are the leading Primary Care Physcian in Rockville Maryland.

Takeaway message

Developing an effective vaccine for COVID-19 is vital to end the cycle of infection transmission and restore our old way of living.

Today, the Pfizer vaccine is already being employed by the USA, UK, and other companies. Hopefully, the other forms of vaccines will catch up soon.

The goal of this article was to highlight the most prominent vaccines out there and their specific characteristics. If you still have any questions, concerns, or something that you want to add, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.We are delighted to offer annual physicals by board certified physician . We perform digital EKG as well as take care of COPD, heart failure, Kidney failure, osteoartheritis, allergies, asthma, COVID counselling, Cholesterol management and other ailments .

Author
Suresh Malik MD Suresh Malik MD Dr. Malik has been living in Maryland throughout most of his career in internal medicine and is passionate about the health and well-being of his Maryland community. The capable, well-trained, professional, and kind physician is described by his patients as a good listener who goes above and beyond to help them get the comprehensive health care they need. When he’s out of the office, Dr. Malik enjoys spending time with his two beautiful children. To schedule an appointment at Quality Primary Care, call the office, or use the online booking tool.

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