„Yes.I'll get the COVID vaccine at the first opportunity. I hope very much that we will have the vaccine accessible in Moldova in the near future and that the vaccination campaign will be launched as soon as possible…”
At the time of writing of this article, more than 35 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered worldwide, with nearly 33 million people vaccinated. Of these, just over 2 million people received two doses of the vaccine, i.e. they are already permanently immunized.
I tried to gather here several questions that I had to answer during the past week to other people and myself, as an expert, but also as a former patient with COVID-19, in a sufficiently serious condition:
- How many COVID-19 vaccines do we have now licensed in the world?
A.T.: In the world at the moment we do not have any COVID vaccine-19 fully authorized for the human use. There are several vaccines that have been given emergency use authorization in various countries.
Vaccines from Pfizer & Biontex and Moderna have been granted emergency use authorization in the USA, EU and other countries.
The Astra Zeneca & Oxford vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization in the UK and other countries.
The Sputnik V vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization in Russia and other countries.
The vaccine from Sinovac China has been granted emergency use authorization in China and other countries.
The Barat India vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization in India and other countries.
In total out of nearly 200 vaccines developed now, in the last phase (phase 3) of research there are about 11 vaccines, and about 12 vaccines are in phase 2 clinical trials. The situation changes from day to day.
- What does an emergency use authorization mean?
A.T.: The emergency use authorization would be the confirmation that in the above-mentioned vaccines, the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.
An emergency use authorization requires stricter reporting from manufacturers on administration errors, adverse effects and product efficacy. To ensure this reporting in many countries have been developed the digital platforms, that enable online vaccination registration, adverse effect monitoring and efficient collection and timely reporting of all data.
- Which vaccine is better: Pfizer or Moderna?
A.T.: Both of these vaccines have a similar mechanism of action, based on a message encoded on an RNA chain. Both vaccines were given an emergency use authorization in the USA and the EU.
Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses of 0.3 ml, with an interval of 21 days and is stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
The Moderna vaccine is given in two doses of 0.5 ml, with an interval of 28 days and is stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius.
Both vaccines can be stored for up to 5 days under +2+8 degrees Celsius conditions.
- How can we be sure of the quality of the vaccine after publications about alleged vaccination deaths in various countries?
A.T.: Information about deaths occurring a few days after vaccination has appeared in publications in several countries. All of these deaths are now being investigated to determine whether the vaccine had a direct influence on these cases. There are still no definitive conclusions on the cause of these deaths, so we cannot say that they were caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, if we have to admit- in theory - that these deaths are caused by the vaccine and try to calculate a rate of the total number of deaths, assumed to be caused by the vaccine, and the total number of the vaccinated people, we get a very small number, which is significantly lower than the rate of deaths caused by COVID-19 disease. The benefits of vaccination are significantly outweighed by the risks.
- Which vaccines were pre-qualified by WHO?
A.T.: To date, there is only one WHO pre-qualified vaccine – Pfizer vaccine. Other vaccines, authorized for the emergency use in various countries, are being reviewed by the WHO. In the near future we will have more vaccines pre-qualified by the WHO.
- Which country ranks first in the world in vaccination?
A.T.: As a number of daily vaccinations, the UK comes first, with 200,000 vaccinations per day.
As the rate of vaccinated people in the total population, on the first place is Israel, which has already vaccinated more than 25% of the entire population.
- Which vaccine will be given in Moldova?
A.T.: It is not known which vaccine will be given in Moldova. We could have different vaccines. Most probably it will be Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at the first stage.
It is very important to be aware in monitoring the stocks of the received vaccines. Vaccinated individuals will need two doses of vaccine and both doses should be from the same manufacturer. Both doses are to be administered in accordance with the provisions of the emergency use authorization for the product.
- Can a person who has been sick with COVID-19 be vaccinated?
A.T.: Yes. If you have passed through COVID-19 disease, you can get the vaccine 90 days after the disease according to the recommendations of the U.S. Disease Control Center. The antibody test is not necessary under these conditions.
- Will you make the COVID-19 vaccine?
A.T.: Yes.I'll get the COVID vaccine at the first opportunity. I hope very much that we will have the vaccine accessible in Moldova in the near future and that the vaccination campaign will be launched as soon as possible.