Fact file

The Covid-19 vaccines

Everything you need to know about the world’s coronavirus vaccines

1

Oxford-AstraZeneca

Efficacy 

On 25 March, AstraZeneca released its most recent clinical trial results reporting an overall efficacy of 76% against symptomatic Covid-19 after two doses.

Where is it made? 

The vaccine is made in the UK at two sites in Oxford and Keele. A third plant in Wrexham puts the vaccine into vials and packages it up for distribution. AstraZeneca is working with suppliers in 15 other countries to make the vaccine, including sites in the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and India.

Where is it approved?

It has been given approval by the UK’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and has been granted emergency approval by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Type of vaccine

A conventional vaccine, using a harmless, weakened version of a common virus that causes colds in chimpanzees. Researchers have previously used this technology to produce vaccines against flu, Zika and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

Who is using it?

The Oxford jab is the most widely used vaccine in the UK and has also been rolled out across the EU, though the European campaign has been stop-start due to intermittent safety concerns.

The Serum Institute of India has also struck deals to supply the Oxford vaccine to 67 developing countries, including India and most of Africa, in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.

2

Pfizer-BioNTech

Efficacy

According to data from a real-world US study released on 29 March, the Pfizer vaccine reduces risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots. The study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluated the vaccine’s ability to protect against infection, including infections that did not cause symptoms.

Where is it made?

The Pfizer jab is mostly made in Belgium. A manufacturing site has also been set up in the German town of Marburg.

Where is it approved?

The jab has been approved by the UK drug regulator, the EMA and has been granted emergency approval by the WHO.

Type of vaccine

Most vaccines rely on weakened or inactivated parts of the virus to provoke an immune response in their recipients, but the Pfizer version is synthetic.

It is made using messenger ribonucleic acid (also known as messenger RNA or mRNA). Whereas DNA is where we store our genetic information, mRNA - as its name suggests - transmits information to determine how our genes are expressed.

To put that another way, mRNA essentially puts DNA instructions into action. In the case of the Pfizer jab, the researchers synthesised a form of mRNA that will “cause our own cells to make a viral protein” from the Covid-19 coronavirus, says The New York Times.

Who is using it?

Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Spain, UK, US, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malta, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, UAE and Singapore.

3

Moderna

Efficacy

The above CDC study found that the Moderna vaccine also reduces risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots.

Where is it made?

The vast majority of the vaccines are produced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before being sent to be filled in Catalent’s biologics facility in Bloomington, Indiana, and Baxter’s site in Bloomington, Indiana.

There are also agreements in place with several manufacturing sites in Europe.

Where is it approved?

The vaccine has been approved by the UK’s drug regulator, the EMA and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Type of vaccine

The Moderna vaccine is, like the Pfizer jab, made using messenger ribonucleic acid (also known as messenger RNA or mRNA).

Who is using it?

The UK, EU, US, Canada and Switzerland have bought the majority of the available Moderna vaccines, according to data compiled by researchers at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Centre.

4

Janssen-Johnson & Johnson

Efficacy

The company said in January that latest trials show the vaccine is 85% effective at preventing the most serious coronavirus symptoms after a single dose and 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness.

Where is it made?

According to Johnson & Johnson, most of the vaccines are manufactured at a facility in Leiden in the Netherlands. 

Where is it approved?

The vaccine is approved for use by the EMA, the FDA and the WHO.

Type of vaccine

Like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the Janssen drug uses a modified adenovirus, a harmless, engineered virus that is injected into the patient. The adenovirus DNA triggers an immune response that helps protect the body from Covid-19 infection.

“Unlike other candidates, however, major US trials have focused on its effectiveness as a single dose,” says The Daily Telegraph. Johnson & Johnson is also conducting a second phase-three trial to look into the effects of two doses of the vaccine.

Who is using it?

The US is planning to purchase 100 million additional doses of the vaccine having already shipped out nearly 3.9 million doses of the single-shot vaccine. The EU and the UK also have contracts with Johnson & Johnson.

5

Novavax

Efficacy

In stage three trials in the UK, the vaccine was shown to be 96.4% effective against the original Covid strain and 89.3% effective against new variants, according to the company

15,000 people participated in the trial, which was conducted during a period of “high transmission” when the “UK variant strain” discovered in Kent was “circulating widely”. 

Where is it made?

The Novavax vaccine will be manufactured at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Stockton-on-Tees and the GlaxoSmithKline plant in Barnard Castle.

Where is it approved?

The company is currently seeking approval from international regulatory bodies.

Type of vaccine

The vaccine works differently from other vaccines currently in use in the UK as it “combines an engineered protein” from the Covid virus with a “plant-based ingredient to help generate a stronger immune response”, Sky News reports.

Who is using it?

The vaccine is yet to be rolled out, but the UK has ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine. The majority of the 362 million Covid vaccines ordered by Canada are Novavax doses, while the US and Indonesia are also awaiting deliveries.

6

Sinovac-Coronavac

Efficacy

According to the BBC, “interim data from late-stage trials in Turkey and Indonesia showed that the vaccine was 91.25% and 65.3% effective respectively”. Researchers in Brazil had said it was 78% effective in their clinical trials, but in January 2021 revised that to 50.4% after further calculations. 

Where is it made?

The vaccine is largely made at a Sinovac factory in Beijing.

Where is it approved?

The vaccine is approved in China and is on the way to getting approval by the WHO, according to a Sinovac spokesperson earlier this month. It is not approved by the UK’s drug regulator, the EMA or the FDA.

Type of vaccine

Coronavac is a traditional vaccine that uses dead viral particles to expose the immune system to the Covid virus without risking a serious disease response.

Who is using it?

According to The Global Times, the vaccine is in use in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Jordan, the Philippines, Algeria and Ukraine. A further 17 countries have also “purchased Covid-19 vaccines developed by Chinese developers”, the paper adds.

7

Sinovac-Sinopharm

Efficacy

Interim results of clinical trials in the UAE said the vaccine was 86% effective in preventing infection in early December, but Sinopharm announced later that month that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79% effective.

Where is it made?

Also at a Sinovac-owned factory in Beijing. The UAE is also in talks to produce the China-developed jab.

Where is it approved?

Chinese medical authorities have approved the jab, as well as the UAE and Bahrain. It is not approved by the UK’s drug regulator, the EMA or the FDA.

Type of vaccine

Also a traditional vaccine, like the Coronavac vaccine.

Who is using it?

Bahrain, China, Cambodia, Egypt, Hungary, Jordan, Macao, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe are using the vaccine. 

8

Sputnik V

Efficacy

Based on the numbers of confirmed Covid cases from 21 days after the first dose of vaccine, the vaccine is 91.6%, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Where is it made?

Most of the doses currently in circulation were produced at the newly opened Moscow-based “R-Pharm”, which has the capacity to produce ten million doses a month. India-based pharmaceuticals giant Virchow Group has also signed a deal “to produce 200 million doses of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine a year”, according to The Moscow Times.

Where is it approved?

Russian drug authorities have approved the vaccine for use. The EMA began a rolling review of its safety in early March, while the FDA and UK drugs regulator are yet to approve its use.

Type of vaccine

Like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Sputnik V is based on a modified version of a common cold virus that “is tailored to carry genetic instructions for making the coronavirus spike protein” and “triggers an immune response to protect” against Covid-19, The Guardian reports.

Who is using it?

According to Statista, Russia has exported the vaccine to Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran and Italy.

Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic stepped down as leader of the country’s ruling coalition over a unilateral deal to purchase the vaccine, while France and Germany have opened negotiations with Vladimir Putin to discuss "cooperation" over vaccines, according to The Telegraph.

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