We’ve heard repeatedly about the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19. Those are the two vaccines in use locally; if you’ve been vaccinated already, you received one or the other. But did you know there are four other vaccines in the final phase of approval that will be available in the near future? Yes, there are six COVID-19 vaccines in Phase III trials.

I recently read excerpts from an interview with an infectious disease specialist from the University of San Francisco Medical School in which she talked about each vaccine and shared a table containing information on each. I’m taking the liberty of publishing that information in my blog to show us all what lies ahead in this rapidly changing pandemic environment.


messenger RNA base

2 doses 28 days apart

Produces neutralizing antibodies

Efficacy vs. mild COVID-19 disease—94.1%

Protection from hospitalization/death—100%


messenger RNA base

2 doses 21 days apart

Produces neutralizing antibodies

Efficacy vs. mild COVID-19 disease—95%

Protection from hosp./death—100%


Genetically-altered chimp Adenovirus base

2 doses (?interval)

Produces neutralizing antibodies

Efficacy vs. mild COVID-19 disease—70% overall

Protection from hosp./death—100%


Genetically-altered human Adenovirus base

1 dose

Produces neutralizing antibodies

Efficacy vs. mild COVID-19 disease—72%

Protection from hosp./ death—100%


Spike protein base

2 doses (?interval)

Produces neutralizing antibodies

Efficacy vs. mild COVID-19 disease—89.3%

Protection from hosp./death—100%


Altered Adenovirus base

2 doses (?interval)

Produces neutralizing antibodies

Efficacy vs. mild COVID-19 disease—91.4%

Protection from hosp./death—100%

So you can see a lot of important work is being done by multiple pharmaceutical laboratories, and it’s only a matter of time before control of COVID-19 is gained. That is, unless these new, mutant strains have unforeseen potency and are resistant to current vaccines. If they are, the search for the perfect vaccine will continue. “Operation Warp Speed” has been a phenomenal success, and every agency involved deserves a huge thank you. The often-maligned pharmaceutical companies, and the scientific researchers employed by them, showed how they can ignore all the negative publicity and accusations of greed, and use their genius to produce a product that will positively impact our society. To have 6 effective vaccines is really remarkable. It has to help alleviate shortages of some vaccines and make distribution and administration move along faster.


“Fully vaccinated” people have some good news. If you’ve had two vaccine shots, you can “skip the standard 14-day quarantine after exposure to someone with the infection as long as they remain asymptomatic.” They should still watch for symptoms. This quarantine relaxation is only recommended for people who received their second shot no longer than three months ago.

This news is exceeded in importance by reports from Israel that COVID-19 vaccines actually reduce transmission of the virus 95% of the time. Six-hundred thousand HMO patients were vaccinated and the same number not vaccinated. Those inoculated had 94% fewer symptomatic COVID-19 cases, and 92% fewer cases of serious illness. This IS good news. This means not only will you be protected from getting the virus, but if you do, you will not transmit it to others.

Also newsworthy are reports that Jansen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has developed a single shot vaccine that has shown protection against severe disease. “It was 85% effective in protecting against severe disease.” Its mechanism of action differs from the messenger RNA of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Just as with Ebola vaccines, J&J’s COVID vaccine contains a “re-engineered” cold virus (Adenovirus) that enters our cells and triggers an immune response. J & J’s vaccine has received EUA from the U.S. FDA.

Comparing the three vaccines available is difficult because of their different mechanisms of action. J&J has used gradations of the severity of illness as a measure of efficacy while Pfizer and Moderna have lumped all patients together. Side effects are similar, but Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines have caused anaphylaxis in up to 6.2 patients per million. The duration of immunity for these vaccines is still unknown. An additional booster shot will be recommended if cases of active disease begin appearing in vaccinated individuals.

COVID-19 vaccines show promise— thank goodness! We’re just getting started, though, so who knows what to expect. The amazing thing is we have 3 active-use vaccines with three more in late-stage development in less than a year. Wouldn’t it be great if we were flooded with excess vaccine that was 100% effective? I think Americans would be happy with 95% protection, though, and herd immunity would protect the unvaccinated.




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