Comparing Three Vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently stated, “Right now, the federal government is contracted with multiple companies to make about 600 million doses of vaccine, which would be good enough for around 300 million people getting vaccinated — hence, everyone that you would imagine [who] would want to get vaccinated in the country would have a vaccine.” As for the timeframe, Fauci added, I would think as we get to April and May that we likely would have, for those who want to get vaccinated, the overwhelming majority of the people [getting] vaccinated.”

Here is a breakdown of the latest information I could find to compare the three leading vaccine trials:

Moderna: Introduced November 16, the Moderna vaccine was developed with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is 95% effective. It is administered by two shots, four weeks apart. Although stored at -20° C, it can be refrigerated for up to a month. This makes the vaccine easily transported and stored. Moderna applied for authorization in late-stage clinical trials, so it may be approved by mid to late December but will not be distributed for at least a couple months. If approved, it could have 20 million does by the end of 2020.

Pfizer: Introduced November 9, the Pfizer vaccine was developed with their German partner BioNTech (a pharmaceutical giant), is 95% effective, and is administered using two shots, three weeks apart. It poses a challenge in distribution, because it has to be stored at -70° C and can only be refrigerated for five days. It may also seek distribution in the upcoming months, because like Moderna, it has also applied for authorization in late-stage clinical trials. If it is approved, it could have around 50 million does by the end of 2020.

 

AstraZeneca: Introduced November 23, the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed by Oxford University and is up to 90% effective. It is stored around 2 to 7° C and can be stored for up to six months, proving to be the easiest to store. It is still in early clinical trials, so it is unclear when distribution may occur.

Next Steps: The next steps are for the FDA to review and greenlight these vaccines (expected in mid to late December). Then, the CDC will decide which groups of people get the vaccine first (after FDA review). Finally, there is the distribution.

 

See these sources for more information:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/11/17/935563377/why-does-pfizers-covid-19-vaccine-need-to-be-kept-colder-than-antarctica

https://pharmanewsintel.com/news/comparing-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-from-pfizer-moderna

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/11/17/covid-vaccines-what-you-need-to-know/?arc404=true

https://people.com/health/fauci-most-americans-able-get-covid-vaccine-april/

https://www.acsh.org/news/2020/11/23/comparing-covid-vaccines-pfizer-vs-moderna-vs-astrazenecaoxford-15170

https://www.severnanchor.com/2020/12/could-the-pfizer-vaccine-end-the-covid-19-pandemic/

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