The COVID-19 pandemic blew through the world, forever changing so many aspects of our everyday lives. Thankfully, vaccines have been rolled out. In fact, a few countries have vaccinated most of their population and are nearing herd immunity. Some countries have even started to relax their laws on social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields.
So have you gotten your COVID-19 vaccination yet? If not, you’re probably wondering which of the vaccines to go for since there are so many options available. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccines currently available.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
This is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive an FDA EUA approval on December 11, 2020. According to the company, the vaccine has generally received positive clinical trial data, and that it was 95% effective at preventing severe symptoms. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is recommended for individuals who are 12 years old or older. It is administered in 2 shots, with 21 days between the shots.
As with any vaccine or drug, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has side effects. The commonly reported side effects are pain at the injection site, headache, chills, tiredness, muscle pain, and fever. These side effects should resolve within a day or two, provided it is accompanied by rest, medication, and hydration. The vaccine uses new technology, which is a messenger RNA vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
This is a different type of vaccine called a virus vector vaccine, and this was granted emergency-use approval on February 27, 2021. This vaccine is recommended for adults who are 18 or older. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is also unique among all vaccines in that it only requires a single shot of dosage for it to be fully active. However, the company announced in November that it would launch another clinical trial to see whether using two doses would provide better protection. With that said, this vaccine has an efficacy of 72% overall.
Common side effects are headache, injection site pain, fever, fatigue, myalgia, which resolve in a day or two. It is worth noting that its side effects are milder than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna is quite similar to the one created by Pfizer-BioNTech. They are the same type of vaccine technology, with similar side effects and the same number of required doses for fully vaccinating, albeit with longer resting times between doses at 28 days. The difference is its handling and efficacy. Unlike Pfizer’s, which requires them to be transported and stored in ultra-low temperatures, the Moderna vaccine can be shipped in standard freezer temperatures and stored in normal refrigeration. Finally, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine has a slightly lower effectiveness of 86%.
Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine
Also known as the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine, this vaccine was developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech. It is recommended for individuals aged 18 and above. With an efficacy of 50.4%, it requires two doses set two weeks apart to fully vaccinate. The vaccine uses an inactivated virus to trigger the body’s immune system to defend against the virus.
On June 1, 2021, the WHO validated the CoronaVac for emergency use, and it is now listed under the Emergency Use Listing, like other vaccines. By June 9, 2021, 26 countries have approved the use of the vaccine.
Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
More commonly known as the AstraZeneca Vaccine, Oxford University and AstraZeneca developed this viral vector vaccine. It was approved for use in the UK Vaccination program on December 30, 2020. Vaccine efficacy is at 76% after the first dose and 81.3% after the second dose. In rare cases, the vaccine has been associated with blood clots. The side effects are generally minor, and these are nausea, pain at the injection site, and headache occurring at the injection site.
COVID-19 Vaccine Global Usage Statistics
Data collected from various sources give us a more in-depth view of how these COVID-19 vaccines are being administered all over the world.
According to Our World in Data, 3.97 billion doses have been administered across the globe, which represents around 27.6% of the world population. 34.32 million doses of the vaccines are administered every day.
The New York Times also reports that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is leading other countries in terms of vaccine administration with nearly 170 doses administered per 100 residents. Keep in mind that these vaccines are typically administered twice.
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