Which Covid-19 Vaccine Should I Get?

Please read this article understanding that the Covid-19 vaccine landscape changes often as we learn more about the virus.

There are a couple of Covid-19 vaccine choices in the U.S. and more, that are available internationally. The vaccines are formulated to work in a variety of way, with some vaccines targeting mRNA (U.S.) and others with double strand DNA formulations (Great Britain). Still other nations use inactive virus material (China) or viral vectors being developed in Japan (not yet released).

There was a rumor at one time that Japan was developing a vaccine from microbes produced from fermented volcanic soils on the coast of Shizuoka, but little info is available about it. Despite not being approved in the U.S. for antiviral use, repurposed drugs like Ivermectin is being used for prevention or treatment of early-stage COVID-19 and has become increasingly widespread especially in Latin America.

There is a lot to consider since availability of each vaccine is dependent on your location and other factors:

*Availability of storage requirements

*Procurement of particular types of syringes

*Determination of your locale’s rules for who gets it first with limited supply.

Listed below are some Covid-19 vaccines that are administered internationally:

  • The mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is for use in persons 16 years of age and older — 2 shots, 21 days apart. Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection.
  • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is another mRNA for use in persons 18 years of age and older given 2 shots, one month (28 days) apart. Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses who had no evidence of being previously infected.
  • UK’s COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca – confirms 100% protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death in the primary analysis of Phase III trials as of a February 3, 2021 press release. In a Reuter report dated 12/30/2020,  UK regulator recommends a booster shot four to 12 weeks after the first dose, because up to 80% efficacy was reached with a three-month interval between shots.
  • South Africa scrapped the UK vaccine due to freezer requirements and is using a trial Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to store. South Africa showed 57% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 in a test conducted when the variant was dominant (J&J’s reports higher effectiveness per a 1/29/21 press release, which you can see by clicking on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine link above ). It provides even better protection against severe disease, with 85% efficacy after 28 days. Johnson & Johnson uses killed virus that allows the immune system to get started, and it also has that spike protein as part of the instructions.” This vaccine only requires one dose to be effective.
  • The Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac is behind the CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine. It works by using killed viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response. This means part of the coronavirus’ genetic code is injected into the body, triggering the body to begin making viral proteins, but not the whole virus, which is enough to train the immune system to attack. “CoronaVac is a more traditional method [of vaccine] that is successfully used in many well known vaccines like rabies,” Associate Prof Luo Dahai of the Nanyang Technological University told the BBC. “mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine and there is [currently] no successful example [of them] being used in the population,” Prof Luo adds. The vaccine was 79% effective in Phase 3 trials in December 2020. In January 2020, Reuters reported the protection rate for 1,394 participants who received doses of either CoronaVac or placebo three weeks apart was nearly 70%, a Sinovac spokesman said.
  • Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective in protecting people from developing COVID-19 symptoms, according to a study published in The Lancet as of late January 2021. Sputnik V uses a snippet of DNA carried by a modified adenovirus, a kind of virus that causes the common cold. The study follows a Phase 3 trial in Moscow hospitals and clinics that included nearly 22,000 participants age 18 and older. In order to ensure lasting immunity Russian scientists came up with a breakthrough idea to use two different types of adenovirus vectors (rAd26 and rAd5) for the first and second vaccination (21 days apart), boosting the effect of the vaccine. There is also talk of using Sputnik in combination with AstraZeneca for fractions of a percent more effectiveness.
  • India is using Covishield (the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK) and Covaxin, locally-made by pharma company Bharat Biotech. Covaxin  is an inactivated vaccine which means that it is made up of killed coronaviruses, making it safe to be injected into the body. Two doses are given four weeks apart. The vaccine can be stored at 2C to 8C and is 90% effective when administered as a 1/2 dose and then a full dose.

Click here for more CDC guidelines on the Covid-19 vaccines available in the U.S.

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