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July 05 2021

A Comprehensive Guide to the Different COVID-19 Vaccines Available

In many countries, governing bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have already authorized COVID-19 vaccines for use, with more brands expected to be approved before the year ends. With the development of these vaccines done in record time, there have been issues and rumors surrounding some brands.

While this has impacted people's decision to get vaccinated, it is still important they are informed of what is fact vs. fiction. This infographic will illustrate a detailed comparison between the different coronavirus vaccines approved for use and provide some key COVID-19 vaccine updates to help people make an informed decision.



COVID-19 Vaccines: How They Compare



Developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, this vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2020 and by the FDA of the Philippines in January 2021. As of May 2021, more than 80 countries have approved Pfizer-BioNTech for distribution in their respective regions. 
This two-dose vaccine operates by introducing mRNA molecules to the cells, which provide instructions to the body for creating the spike protein found on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The body will then detect these proteins, triggering the immune system to produce antibodies and develop immunity to fight off future SARS-CoV-2 infections.
With 95% tested efficacy, this vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 and up. Latest data show that it also protects against specific COVID-19 variants, including B.1.1.7 or Alpha (first discovered in the United Kingdom) and B.1.351 or Beta (South Africa). Some of its side effects include pain, redness, swelling in the jab area, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.


This vaccine, also mRNA-based, is the second to receive the emergency use authorization status from the U.S. FDA in December 2020, and FDA Philippines in May 2021. This has been approved for administration to persons aged 18 years and up. WHO reports that it exhibits 94% efficacy in preventing the symptoms of the COVID-19 infectious disease
WHO also notes this vaccine is safe and effective in people with pulmonary, liver, or kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, or controlled chronic infections. It can also be administered to breastfeeding mothers. Some of its known side effects include chills, headache, pain, fever, nausea, tiredness, and redness and swelling at the injection site.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses that persons with severe allergic reactions are not advised to get a Moderna shot. And while vaccination is recommended for older individuals, WHO suggests that those with a life expectancy of less than three (3) months be assessed first.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses adenovirus, a type of virus that causes the common cold. This acts as a vector to deliver instructions to the cells about how to fight viruses. When injected, it triggers the body to create antibodies, resulting in an immune response against COVID-19. 
This single-dose vaccine was shown to be 93% effective at preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Also, it was found to display 100% efficacy 28 days after vaccination. Clinical trials also noted that participants developed protection as early as 14 days after getting the shot.
WHO has endorsed this vaccine for use, authorizing its administration to individuals 18 years of age and older. Some of its side effects are fatigue, fever, headache, pain in the injection site, and muscle pain. In most cases, these signs are considered normal, as they are indications that the body is building protection against the virus.


This vaccine also uses adenoviruses to introduce SARS-CoV-2 genetic material into the body. Statistics show that it is 76% effective at reducing the risk of COVID-19 symptoms 15 days or more after vaccination. According to WHO, it is safe and effective in protecting people from the severe effects of the coronavirus.
Data from trials also suggest that it is 85% effective in people over 65 years old. It has likewise been cited to have a 74.6% efficacy rate against the B.1.1.7 or Alpha variant. Its known side effects include pain in the injection site, mild tenderness, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever, all of which will go away within a day or two. There are also very rare cases of blood clotting reported.
This two-dose vaccine is recommended for persons 18 years of age and older. For pregnant women and those with comorbidities, WHO advises that they may be vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider.


This two-shot vaccine was listed by WHO for emergency use last May 7, 2021. Developed from a SARS-CoV-2 strain, it is one of two inactivated virus COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products.
Scientists have been waiting for further details about this vaccine, but the latest data shows 79% efficacy against symptomatic cases. It has been authorized to be administered to people aged 18 and up, with anticipated side effects of pain, redness, swelling in the injection site, headache, fatigue, fever, and nausea.
WHO notes that since data on the vaccine’s effects on pregnant women are insufficient, it can only be administered if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.


This vaccine works by using weakened viral particles to expose the body to the coronavirus without causing severe symptoms. It uses a traditional vaccine technology, relying on inactivated virus particles to develop an immune response. 
Findings show that this two-dose vaccine can induce a quick antibody response within four (4) weeks of immunization at a 14-day interval. Initial data from late-stage trials in Indonesia and Turkey suggest that it is 91.25% and 65.3% effective, respectively, in protecting against COVID-19. Researchers in Brazil also noted that it showed 50.4% efficacy.
This vaccine is recommended for people age 18 to 59 years old. Its side effects include fatigue, elevated blood pressure, headache, dizziness, and rashes.


This vaccine uses a version of a spike protein manufactured in the laboratory that resembles the structure of the coronavirus. When the body’s immune system recognizes this protein, it starts producing antibodies, which would fight off the virus in case of infection. 
Data from the third phase of the clinical trial shows that this vaccine has an efficacy of 95.6% against COVID-19. It was also observed to be 85.6% effective against the UK or Alpha variant. Some of its side effects include fatigue, headache, muscle pain, tenderness, and pain in the injection site.
This is given in two (2) doses and recommended for people ages 18 through 84. Last May, Novavax announced that it would not seek emergency use authorization until September due to manufacturing regulatory issues.


Sputnik is also an adenovirus-viral vector vaccine. However, instead of using one vector, it combines two different kinds of adenovirus strains—rAd26 for the first dose and rAd5 for the second. Based on the third phase of the clinical trial, this vaccine is reportedly 91.6% effective in protecting COVID-19 and can prevent symptoms in individuals aged 18 years and above. 
As of April 2021, Sputnik has been approved in over 55 countries. This vaccine is recommended to be administered in two (2) doses of 0.5 ml each with a 21-day interval. Some side effects include flu-like symptoms, headache, fatigue, and pain in the injection site. 

End the Pandemic; Get Vaccinated 

While there are different vaccines out on the market, they all share the same objective: to provide a level of immunity against COVID-19, which at the very least, will prevent severe sickness, hospitalization, and death. In choosing which one to get, people should consider their health condition and their body’s possible reaction to the vaccine. 
WHO emphasizes the importance of immunization, encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. This is a crucial step in helping the world make huge strides as each jab takes us closer to ending this pandemic. Remember, the best vaccine is the one that’s readily available to you.
For the diagnosis, management, or treatment of COVID-19 and other health concerns, reach out to Makati Medical Center.