After having to live with the pandemic for three years, knowledge about vaccines and booster shots have practically saturated our minds.
Whether its Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sinovac, or less commonly used AstraZeneca or Novavax, you’ve probably heard of them, or it was the vaccine dosage you were administered with.
Of course, even though they have proven effective against the coronavirus, each pharmaceutical company has their own kind of vaccine, which begs the question:
Which vaccine is more effective?
Getting into the Details
First and foremost, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which means that the vaccine teaches our cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response within our bodies.
This immune response will produce antibodies that protect us from the infection if it enters our bodies.
The slight difference between the two is the additives each vaccine contains, plus the temperature requirements necessary for proper storage.
Sinovac, on the other hand, uses an inactivated form of the COVID-19 virus. The unreactive coronavirus particles injected into our bodies will be killed to stimulate our bodies to produce antibodies as an immune response.
mRNA technology is fairly new, whilst the Sinovac vaccine follows the concept of older vaccines, such as the polio and Hepatitis A vaccines.
Results of the Study
According to the Singapore study that was published on Tuesday (12 Apr), it showed that recipients of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine are five times more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms when infected compared to recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine.
Sinovac recipients are also twice more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than Pfizer recipients, and six times more likely than those who were administered the Moderna vaccine.
For the latter, it makes sense: in earlier studies, it has shown that the efficacy of Pfizer degrades faster than Moderna, though both vaccines reach a point where its efficacy will drop below 30% after nine months, hence making the booster shots mandatory.
How the Study was Conducted
The study was done over a seven-week period, starting from 1 Oct 2021 to 21 Nov 2021, involving nearly three million adults above the age of 20 who had received the full primary regimen of their vaccine.
It was discovered that those with the Moderna vaccine were 0.42 times less likely to show severe COVID-19 symptoms than Pfizer, while individuals who chose the Sinopharm shots are 1.58 times more likely to experience severe symptoms.
Fortunately, only about 2% of Singapore’s eligible population have taken the Sinovac vaccines.
Though that can definitely be chalked up to Singaporeans loving subsidised and/or free things.
I mean, why go out of your way to other clinics and pay for the Sinovac vaccine, when you can just get either Moderna or Pfizer for free when it eventually reaches your turn?
Technically, you don’t even need to wait in for it, the government gives you a queue number.
Regardless of which vaccine you took though, you can rest safely in the knowledge that all the vaccines provide sufficient protection against severe COVID-19 symptoms.
If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be promoted so aggressively by the government.
Vaccinating the vast majority of the Singaporean population has proven to be very effective, with the Omicron wave presenting itself as a good example.
At least 1 million people went down like flies over the span of two months, we hit record numbers of more than 26,000 cases a day at one point, but we came out better for it and the Safety Management Measures are being relaxed gradually.
As of 12 April, the Ministry of Health (MOH) stated that over 96% of the eligible population have finished their full regimen of vaccination, while 72% have received their booster shots.
If anything, we’re definitely reaching a point where COVID-19 is becoming an endemic.
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Featured Image: Shutterstock / oasisamuel
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