• Zita Huang

COVID-19 Vaccines: The Specifics

It has officially been more than one year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. As

vaccines are officially in circulation in Canada, there are a total of four approved vaccines in

this country; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Each of these

vaccines were developed differently, they provide different efficacy rates and were produced

by various countries. But what are the specific details about these vaccines?



*Note: This article’s purpose is NOT to say one vaccine is better than the other. The purpose

is to inform readers about the specifics of each vaccine. The information from this article

is based on March 2021 data from the Government of Canada’s website. As of April 2021, not

everyone in Canada can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.


Moderna


The Moderna vaccine (mRNA-1273) was developed by an American pharmaceutical

company. Only those over the age of 18 are able to receive the vaccine. It is unclear at this

time whether or not children are able to take this vaccine. The Moderna vaccine was

approved by Health Canada on December 23, 2020.


Two doses are required, in which the second dose is recommended to be taken after one

month of the first initial dose. According to Health Canada, the vaccine is said to be 94.1%

effective based on a study conducted on approximately 30,000 participants. The Moderna

vaccine is 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19 after two weeks of being fully

vaccinated.


Possible side effects may include body chills, fatigue and feeling feverish. These side effects

are mild and/or moderate. Before receiving the vaccine, speak with a healthcare professional

if you have severe allergies or health conditions.


Pfizer-BioNTech


The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Tozinameran or BNT162b2) is also an mRNA vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was developed by American and German pharmaceutical

companies. Health Canada approved the vaccine for those 16 years and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Canada, on

December 9, 2020.


Two doses are required, in which the second dose is recommended to be taken after 21 days

of the first initial dose. After studies conducted on approximately 44,000 participants, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective. The vaccine is 95% effective in preventing

COVID-19 after one week after the second dose.


Possible side effects may include body chills, fatigue and feeling feverish. These side effects

are mild and/or moderate. Before receiving the vaccine, speak with a healthcare professional

if you have serious allergies or health conditions.


AstraZeneca


The AstraZeneca vaccine (ChAdOx1-S) has been approved for use in Canada on February

26, 2021. The vaccine is a Viral Vector-Based vaccine. Two manufacturers, AstraZeneca and

Verity Pharmaceuticals and Serum Institute of India (SII) have been approved by Health

Canada. AstraZeneca manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine, while the SII manufactures the

COVISHELD vaccine. However, both have collaborated with each other, along with the

assistance of Oxford University. The vaccine is approved for Canadians who are 18 years and

older.


Two doses are required, in which the second dose is administered 4 to 12 weeks after the first initial dose. According to Health Canada, the AstraZeneca vaccine displayed 62% of

effectiveness in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after two weeks of being fully

vaccinated. The effectiveness of the vaccine is based on participant analysis results, where

participants received the two-dose regimen.


Possible side effects may include body chills, fatigue and feeling feverish. These side effects

are mild and/or moderate. Before taking the vaccine, speak with a healthcare professional if

you have serious allergies or health conditions.


Johnson & Johnson


The Johnson & Johnson (Jassen) vaccine (Ad26.COV2.S) was developed by an American

pharmaceutical company. The vaccine is a Viral Vector Based vaccine. The vaccine is

approved for Canadians who are 18 years of age and over. On March 5, 2021, the Johnson &

Johnson vaccine was approved, with conditions, by Health Canada.

Unlike the other vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. In studies

conducted on approximately 43,000 participants, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66%

effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19. The vaccine is 66% effective after two

weeks of being fully vaccinated.

Possible side effects may include body chills, fatigue and feeling feverish. These side effects

are mild and/or moderate. Before receiving the vaccine, speak with a healthcare professional

if you have serious allergies or health conditions.



Other Vaccines

To find out more about other vaccines Canada is reviewing, check out the link below to the

official website of the Government of Canada:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/dru

gs-vaccines-treatments/authorization/applications.html#wb-auto-4

*Data Used In This Article Is From Canada.ca

(https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/vac