Culture & Politics

COVID Vaccines and Efficacy.

Lots of great news on the vaccine front this week! Health Canada approved use of the Pfizer vaccine starting at 12 yrs and the FDA is supposed to follow within the next day or so! With millions of Pfizer doses arriving during May and June, things are starting to look good for a regular back to school in the fall!

That being said there is still lots of work to be done! While the US has administered at least 1 dose to over 50% of the population, Canada is trailing behind with approximately 30% of the population having received their first dose.

A big thanks again – to all the medical personnel administering these shots!!

Currently there are 4 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson) approved for use in Canada and 3 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) approved for use in the United States.

As needles are getting into more arms, we wondered how the vaccines actually work?

“Vaccines prompt an immune response so that your body remembers how to fight a virus in the
future. Some vaccines use a whole virus to cause your immune system to respond. Other vaccines use parts of the virus or genetic material that provides instructions for making specific proteins like those in the virus.”

“Many COVID-19 vaccines involve a spikelike structure on the surface of the COVID-19 virus called an S protein. The S protein helps the virus get inside your cells and start an infection.”

So, how protected are we and when are we protected?

The following table shows the vaccines and their effectiveness at preventing serious COVID-19 illness.

Source: WHO, CDC and Government of Canada

Vaccine Definitions:

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine: Uses genetically engineered mRNA(ribonucleic acid) to give your cells a roadmap for how to make an innocuous piece of the S protein found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. Vaccinated immune cells start manufacturing S protein pieces and placing them on cell surfaces. This reaction causes your body to create antibodies which your body uses to fight the COVID-19 virus.

Vector vaccine: Use an altered version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver the virus to our cells. Once this weakened version reaches the cells, it gives your cells instructions to make copies of the S protein and our immune system responds by creating antibodies which can fight the COVID-19 infection.

Source: and CDC