Who’s who in the vaccine zoo?

Arthur Greene

As the planet begins the largest mass inoculation programme in history, discussions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccination will likely dominate public conversation for the foreseeable future.

There are currently several vaccines which have been approved by medical bodies across the planet with dozens more still in development.

However, Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna are the first three to be rolled out in significant quantities.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not yet in distribution but is expected to become available to the global marketplace by February.

News of these vaccines is entering the public sphere for the very first time. With the constant stream of critical breaking news there has been little time to ask what they mean for the public and how they compare to one another.

Each vaccine varies widely in price, and each must be stored and transported in varying conditions. 

For example, the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines can be stored at a much higher temperature than either vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna. These will therefore be much cheaper to transport and store.

Each vaccine also has an efficacy rate, which is the performance rate of a treatment under the ideal and controlled circumstances of a trial.

AstraZeneca

The South African government announced on Thursday that it had secured 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be rolled out across this January and February.

  • Efficacy rate is reported to be 90%
  • The vaccine must be given in two doses
  • Each dose reportedly costs $3
  • The vaccine can be stored at a temperature between 2c and 8c

Pfizer/BioNTech

  • Efficacy rate is reported by the company to be 95%
  • The vaccine must be given in two doses, three weeks apart
  • Each dose reportedly costs $20
  • The vaccine must be stored at a temperature of -70c

Moderna

  • Efficacy rate is reported to be 94.5%
  • The vaccine must be given in two doses
  • Each dose reportedly costs $30
  • The vaccine must be kept at a temperature of -20c

Johnson & Johnson

  • Efficacy rate has not yet been published
  • The vaccine is currently being trialed for use as a single-dose
  • Each dose reportedly costs $10
  • This vaccine can be stored at a temperature between 2c and 8c, similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine