Saturday , March 6 2021

What should a pharmacist know about Covid-19 vaccines and how they differ?

To date, vaccines against Covid-19 have been conditionally registered in the European Union, including Latvia, by two manufacturers (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna). Because innovative methods have been used in the development of both vaccines, the State Drug Agency (ZVA) explains what these vaccines have in common and how the two vaccines differ. Although these are the first recorded vaccines, the mRNA vaccine technology used in their development has been studied for more than a decade for the development of both vaccines and other drugs.

The first Covid-19 vaccine against Comirnaty has already been developed by BioNTech and Pfizer and registered in the EU on 21 December 2020. The vaccine is designed to protect against the coronavirus disease caused by Covid-19. The second vaccine, developed by the manufacturer “Modern”, was registered on January 6, 2021.

Common to both vaccines

Both registered vaccines are based on an innovative method based on an mRNA messenger that helps the body produce maximum protein particles, or S proteins, that are part of the coronavirus and that the virus uses to enter body cells. . This means that after receiving the vaccine, the vaccinated person’s immune system will produce antibodies against the maximum protein particles, or S protein, and will recognize the protein and protect the body against the virus when exposed to the coronavirus.

These vaccines are artificially synthesized, do not contain live viruses and do not use human, embryonic cells or microchips.

Compared to other vaccines, the biggest advantage of mRNA vaccines is their ability to produce them more quickly, which is especially important in fighting a pandemic.

Both Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna vaccines against Covid-19 are equivalent not only in terms of vaccine development technology used, but also in terms of efficacy; both vaccines show almost identical efficacy against Covid-19 (or 95% – Pfizer). and the BioNTech vaccine and 94%: modern vaccine) and meets all strict safety requirements.

To be used in the European Union (EU), a vaccine must meet the same standards of testing for quality, safety and effectiveness as any medicine. No exceptions are made to these essential requirements.

The process of vaccine development and registration is faster than other vaccines, due to the unprecedented investment and pooling of scientific, financial and human resources, as well as a radical change in the efficiency of cooperation between authorities. Vaccine Registry and Vaccine Developers In addition, researchers have been investigating possible vaccines against the SARS and MERS virus for more than ten years. These long-term preliminary studies serve as a basis for accelerating the development of vaccine candidates in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The biggest difference is the storage of the vaccines and the timing of the next dose

The biggest difference between these vaccines is their storage. If the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is to be stored frozen in special freezers from -90 ° C to -60 ° C (except temporary storage for 5 days in the refrigerator at 2 ° C-8 ° C), it can be stored modern vaccine in refrigerators from -25 ° C to -15 ° C.

It should be noted that Comirnaty is suitable for vaccination from 16 years and Modern from 18 years. This is related to the population studied. The manufacturer of the drug, Moderna, has also used a 28-day interval between the two doses of the vaccine in its studies to demonstrate efficacy and safety, so it is recommended that the 28-day interval between the first and the second dose is given in the description of the vaccine. In the case of Comirnaty, a vaccine developed by Pfizer, there should be an interval of 21 days between the two doses. Because both vaccines are conditionally authorized, both manufacturers will need to continue clinical trials for a further 2 years to obtain additional data on vaccines in patients of different ages.

The National Medicines Agency reminds that as long as vaccines are available in limited quantities in the European Union, patients cannot choose which vaccine to receive. The doctor who decides to apply the most appropriate vaccine will decide on the patient’s state of health, allergic reactions to the excipients of the vaccine, etc.

Vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary and fully funded by the state. Given the gradual availability of vaccines throughout the European Union, the most vulnerable groups in Latvian society are initially vaccinated.

To make it easier for the public to find reliable, science-based information on the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, the websites of the State Drug Agency section News about covid19 the latest information on vaccine development, evaluation and approval, including vaccine efficacy, quality and safety, is regularly updated and published, including vaccine data. Information on the course of vaccination in Latvia can be found in the section on the website of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control Vaccines against covid-19.

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