• Pushya Chokshi

Concerned About the COVID-19 Vaccine? Here's Why You Shouldn't Be.

The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine was the first ray of hope after the crippling COVID-19 pandemic. In Canada, the first company to cross the finish line was Pfizer, and not too long after that the Moderna vaccine also got the approval. Both these vaccines were subjected to intense clinical trials before being introduced to the general public.


As per the government's deal with Pfizer, we were expected to get 4 million vaccines at the end of March 2021. However, this plan may be delayed because Pfizer is apparently updating their production line to help increase the needs and demands of the population. Previously Pitzer was expecting to roll out 1.3 billion shots by the end of 2021 and after this upgrade, they are targeting towards 2 billion shots.


Picture source: Twitter handle of Justin Trudeau


Pfizer and Moderna aren't the only companies planning on rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations. There are also other companies, some with a different approach towards the vaccine and its origin which are planning on entering the Canadian market. Below is a list of some such companies and their respective products:


Picture Source: Health Canada


Pfizer vaccine:

It was the first vaccine that got approval from Health Canada on 9th December 2020. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Tozinameran or BNT162b2) is used to prevent COVID-19 and is manufactured by Pfizer Canada ULC and BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH. Pfizer is an m-RNA vaccine that used RNA instead of the live viruses to accentuate the immune response in an individual. It is to be stored at an extreme temperature of -60 to -80 degrees Celsius before getting thawed. Suitable to 16 years or older in age.


The vaccine is given in a form of an injection of 0.3ml that is injected into the muscle of the arm. In order for a vaccine to be effective, it has to be administered twice at the interval of 21 days. A total of 44,000 people participated in the trials proving it to be 95% effective.


Common side effects of this vaccine like ever other include fever, tiredness, body chills, and pain at the site of injection. Some serious allergic reaction to this vaccine was also observed, although it was very rare. Health Canada is continuously observing these side effects and updating the population regarding the same.


Moderna Vaccine:

This was a second vaccine getting its approval from Health Canada on 23rd December 2020. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) is used to prevent COVID-19 and is manufactured by Moderna Therapeutics Inc. It works on a similar concept of m-RNA as Pfizer. Suitable for 18 years or older in age.


The vaccine is given in a form of an injection containing 0.5ml of the solution in 2 dosages at an interval of a month. A total of 30,000 people participated in trails with a success of 94.1%.


All the possible side effects of this vaccine are the same as that of the Pfizer vaccines, including a Serious allergic reaction.


Reluctant because of reactions?


Health Canada is continuously monitoring the Population undergoing vaccination to keep track of any directions which can be found on their website. A total of 90 adverse events following immunization (AEFI) have been reported till 15th January 2021 from a total of 601,901 doses administered.


Picture source: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/vaccine-safety/


Out of these 90 AEFI, 63 were non-serious and 27 being serious. It was a total of 0.015% AEFI among all the doses administered, it can be good enough to say that the vaccine can be considered safe as of now. This webpage on Health Canada is updated every week to make the latest data available to the public.


Most of the AEFI was found in the age group of 18 to <50 years. And females were more dominant compared to men.



Picture source: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/vaccine-safety/


Among the 90 reported AEFI most commonly reported ones were vaccination site reactions, paresthesia, pruritis, urticaria, headache, hypoaesthesia, nausea, and anaphylaxis.


Overall the success rate of the vaccine is overwhelming and mass vaccination in the coming days can be considered as the light at the end of the tunnel. Front line workers were the first to receive a vaccination and will be followed by the risk group ending with the general population, targeting it to be finished by the end of this year.


Apart from these vaccines, many other vaccines around the world are creating an impact on the population. Covishield and covaxin manufactured by India have an astonishing success ratio and are also being imported to other countries like Brazil.


Source:

Health Canada Official webpage


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