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What’s the Difference Between CoronaVac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, etc?

What's the difference between the CoronaVac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and other COVID-19 vaccines? Here's an explainer!

On Sunday, February 28, the first batch of the CoronaVac vaccines finally arrived on Philippine shores as a donation from the Chinese government. The following day, on March 1, the country’s vaccination officially began with Philippine General Hospital (PGH) director and decorated neurosurgeon Dr. Gerardo ‘Gap’ Legaspi getting the first-ever legal vaccine in the entire country.

And just three days after the vaccination program’s launch, the first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have landed in the country. More than 487,000 doses of the vaccine will soon be available for frontliners, healthcare workers, and other priority groups.

“After the ceremony, these will immediately be delivered to storage for repackaging to prepare for immediate distribution to our frontliners,” said Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine has drastically boosted the confidence of frontliners and the public in getting the shots. But why is this so? My Pope explains the differences in COVID-19 vaccines and shows you why frontliners are preferring the new arrival compared to the CoronaVac.

CoronaVac (Sinovac Biotech; China)

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Piecemeal disclosures about Chinese vaccine trials globally have raised concerns that they are not subject to the same public scrutiny as US and European alternatives. (Photo from Sinovac/BusinessWorld)
  • Type of Vaccine: Inactivated virus – uses an inactivated or killed version of the virus or germ to provide immunity
  • Efficacy: 50% (tested on the UK and US strains; no data on the other strains yet)
  • Dosage: Two doses, three weeks (21 days) apart
  • Storage: 2-8˚C (can be stored in regular refrigerators)
  • Notes: CoronaVac has the lowest efficacy among the available vaccines right now; according to some, it is not advisable for those above 60 years old

Oxford-AstraZeneca (UK, Sweden)

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Photo from Karwai Tang/Getty Images/The Verge
  • Type of Vaccine: Viral vector – uses a modified version of a different virus “as a vector to deliver protection”
  • Efficacy: 72%
  • Dosage: Two doses, 8-12 weeks apart
  • Storage: 2-8˚C (can be stored in regular refrigerators)
  • Notes: According to AstraZeneca, the longer the time between doses increase the efficacy from 72% to 82% (12 weeks apart)

Pfizer-BioNTech (US, Germany)

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Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination center in Pfaffenhofen, southern Germany, Jan. 10, 2021. (Photo from AFP/Daily Sabah)
  • Type of Vaccine: mRNA – creates proteins in order to trigger an immunity response in the body
  • Efficacy: 95%
  • Dosage: Two doses, 21 days apart (Read: ‘Vaccine Passports Will Be Issued to Inoculated Individuals’ – Roque)
  • Storage: -80˚C to -60˚C (enclosed areas, large refrigeration storages, shipping containers filled with dry ice)
  • Notes: This vaccine has the highest efficacy among all the vaccines; many frontliners in various countries including the US are receiving this brand

Moderna (US)

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Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine was the second to be authorized for use in the U.S. (Photo from Joseph Prezioso/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/The Wall Street Journal)
  • Type of Vaccine: mRNA – creates proteins in order to trigger an immunity response in the body
  • Efficacy: 92%
  • Dosage: Two doses, 28 days apart (can be extended to 42 days when necessary)
  • Storage: 2-8˚C (can be stored in regular refrigerators)
  • Notes: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this vaccine to those aged 18 and above

Johnson & Johnson-Janssen Pharmaceutica (US)

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Photo from Johnson & Johnson
  • Type of Vaccine: Viral vector – uses a modified version of a different virus “as a vector to deliver protection” (Read: Holy See Urges Easing of Existing Policies for COVID-19 Vaccines)
  • Efficacy: 72%
  • Dosage: One dose
  • Storage: 2-8˚C (can be stored in regular refrigerators)
  • Notes: Concerns have been raised especially by the US Conference of Bishops over some “moral compromises.” The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses cells from decades-old fetal tissue, which is normally used for drug research.

Sputnik V (Russia)

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Sputnik V (Photo from Vladimir Gerdo/TASS)
  • Type of Vaccine: Viral vector – uses a modified version of a different virus “as a vector to deliver protection”
  • Efficacy: 92%
  • Dosage: Two doses, 21 days apart
  • Storage: 2-8˚C (can be stored in regular refrigerators)
  • Notes: The first and second doses slightly differ from each other in the way that they use different vectors; supply of this vaccine is limited

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