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When viruses attack the body they usually multiply, leading to an infection that causes illness. The immune system consequently uses white blood cells to fight the infection and restore a person to health. Researchers and drug manufacturers have been developing and testing vaccines for the COVID-19 virus in a bid to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and stop its spread. With the shipping of the vaccine now underway, it is hoped that the availability of the vaccine will help prevent the further spread of the pandemic in the long term. The findings below outline the different types of vaccines available and how they work.

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The COVID-19 Vaccine

  • The vaccine is designed to help the body to develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Although different types of vaccines work differently to offer protection, they all supply the body with “memory” T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus in the future.
  • The first time that a person is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, their bodies might take several days or weeks to utilize the fighting tools required to defeat the infection. However, after infection, the body’s immune system will remember what it has learned about the process of protecting itself against the disease.
  • Therefore, when the body detects the antigens, B-lymphocytes will produce the antibodies to attack the antigens.
  • It is important to remember that a person might be infected with the virus just before or after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine was not given sufficient time to offer protection.
  • Also, it is possible for an individual to develop a fever as the process of immunity begins after vaccination. These symptoms are normal and will demonstrate that the body is building immunity to the virus.
  • People will require more than one shot of the vaccine if they are to get immunity from the disease. Most of the vaccines that are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the US require individuals to take two shots.
  • The initial shot will help to build protection and the second shot will be given a few weeks later to give total protection.
  • The vaccine will take effect 1 week after the second dose is taken.
  • However, individuals need to stay with the same vaccine for both shots, even for the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna which have a similar structure.

Types of COVID-19 Vaccines

1. mRNA Vaccines

2. Protein Subunit Vaccines

3. Vector Vaccines

Potential Differences and Similarities Between the Vaccines

  • Unlike other vaccines in history, the vaccines for COVID-19 which are perceived as the front runners do not use live viruses to make them.
  • The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA.
  • The AstraZeneca vaccine is a vector vaccine made from a weaker version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) taken from chimpanzees.
  • The two vaccine doses for Moderna and AstraZeneca will be given 4 weeks apart, while the doses for Pfizer will be given 3 weeks apart.
  • In general, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approximately 95% effective, while the AstraZeneca vaccine is at least 70% effective.
  • Although the vaccines will be provided for free to patients, healthcare providers are expected to bill insurance companies and related entities. As such, the cost per dose for a Moderna vaccine is $37, $20 for a Pfizer vaccine, and $4 for AstraZeneca’s.

Pros of the Vaccinations

Cons of the Vaccinations

GLENN TREVOR
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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