COVID-19 Consumer News

A Basic Guide to 7 COVID-19 Vaccines and How They Work

Make sure to be informed about COVID-19 vaccines you might be getting!

By: Denisse Shawntel Tan | January 09, 2021
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This article was last updated on March 22, 2021.

COVID-19, Vaccines, Vaccines distributions, vaccine brands, Vaccines in the Philippines

Over the past months, different pharmaceutical companies have been developing COVID-19 vaccines.

To date, the Philippines has already received COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac and has begun its vaccination campaign on March 1. Other than these two vaccine brands, there are five more from other companies that are being eyed. However, the status of these vaccines vary widely;some are already seeking clearance for emergency use, while some are already on their way for distribution. Read on to learn more about the developers of COVID-19 vaccines that the country might receive.

1. Pfizer-BioNTech

Total price for two doses: PhP2,379

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine emergency use authorization (EUA) last January 14, 2021. Based on clinical trials, the vaccine was found to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 transmission. A recent study conducted in Israel showed that a single dose of the vaccine already has an efficacy of up to 85%.

How it works: The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) which features non-infectious elements and can be manufactured faster. The vaccine works because the mRNA triggers an immune response to the virus by carrying instructions on how cells can produce spike proteins. In contrast, other vaccines use weakened disease-causing pathogens to stimulate the production of antibodies.

Concerns: The U.K Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) observed that the vaccine can cause anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions in some people. As such, those who have a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine, food, or a vaccine are not advised to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

2. AstraZeneca

Total price for two doses: PhP610

Another vaccine that was granted EUA in the Philippines is made by British-Swedish pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Astranzeneca’s vaccine was made in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

How it works: The vaccine works by using adenovirus, a genetically altered virus, to carry spike protein that will aid the immune system in attacking the coronavirus. The vaccine needs to be administered in two doses to achieve an efficacy rate of 90 percent, provided the first dose is only at half strength.

Concerns: As of March 2021, many countries have suspended the use of the vaccine due to reports of blood clots in some recipients.

3. Moderna

Total price for two doses: PhP3,904 to PhP4,504

Moderna’s two-dose vaccine has an efficacy of 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 once a person after the second shot. The Philippines has already secured 20 million doses of the vaccine, and according to Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, the shipment could be delivered by the middle of this year.

How it works: Like Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s vaccine also uses mRNA. The vaccine will be administered in two doses which must be given 28 days apart.

Concerns: he issue with Moderna’s vaccine is the duration of its protection. A study published by The New England Journal noted that protection from the Moderna vaccine could last for at least three months.

4. Novavax

Total price for two doses: PhP2,000

Last March 16, 2021, the Philippines signed a deal with the Serum Institute of India to secure 30 million doses of the Novavax vaccine. Based on UK stage III trial results, the vaccine is 89.3% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, it is also 86.3% effective against the B117 variant, the strain first identified in the United Kingdom.

How it works: Novavax works by inserting baculovirus—a pathogen that affects insects—into moth cells. After it is inserted in the moth cells, it will help in producing a protein called “spike” antibodies. The spikes will be collected so they can be mixed with a synthetic soap-like particle where they will embed themselves. To boost immune response, the vaccine also includes a substance called saponin.

Concerns: Efficacy rates published by Novavax are interim results. The vaccine’s efficacy against the variant first identified in South Africa is lower at only 49.4%.

5. Gamaleya

Total price for two doses: PhP1,220

Also known as the Sputnik V vaccine, Gamaleya is a Russian-made vaccine that is named after the first Soviet space satellite. It has an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent. The Sputnik V vaccine has already been granted an EUA last March 19, 2021 by the FDA.

How it works: Sputnik V claims that it is “the world’s first registered vaccine to use a well-studied human adenoviral vector-based platform.” A vector is a type of virus that is not capable of reproduction. It will serve as a “vehicle” that can transport genetic materials from the virus to a human cell.

Vectors will be inserted with “S proteins” that can be found in SARS-COV-2. On the first vaccination, the vector with S proteins will enter a human cell. While inside the cell, the body will respond to the S protein, prompting the immunization process. The second dose is given after 21 days and it is expected to boost immune response and provide long-lasting immunity.

Concerns: So far, there hasn’t been any reported severe side effects of the Sputnik V. It may cause usual mild vaccine reactions such as fever and headaches.

6. Sinovac

Total price for two doses: PhP3,629.50

Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac worked on a vaccine called CoronaVac. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy of 83.5% based on final results of Phase III trials in Turkey released on March 3. Moreover, the vaccine was reported to be effective in preventing hospitalization and severe illness in 100% of cases.

How it works: CoronaVac uses dead viral particles or pathogens to trigger the body’s immune system. Since the viral particles are dead, the body won’t be getting a serious disease response.

Concerns: Several countries report different efficacy rates for the vaccine. For instance, its efficacy rate was reported to be at least 50 percent in Brazil, while in Turkey, the initial reported efficacy rate is over 90 percent.

7. Janssen

Total price: Not yet available

This vaccine candidate is a single-dose vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, division of Johnson & Johnson based in Belgium. Last February 19, 2021, local clinical trials of the drug began in selected sites in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Western Visayas.

How it works: The Janssen vaccine is also adenovirus-based, like the Sputnik V. Like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it also carries genetic instructions for building spike proteins, but instead of using mRNA, the Janssen vaccine uses double-stranded DNA. This gene for the spike protein is added to another virus called the Adenovirus 26.

Concerns: Since the vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials, the efficacy rate is still pending.

Visit Yoorekka for more useful guides on the current situation.

These vaccines are still in progress. While everyone waits for vaccines in the Philippines, it’s best to stay safe from COVID-19 by following health protocols.

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. While we are doing our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable and the situation develops rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.

Vaccine prices are inclusive of VAT and 10% inflation rate
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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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