Canada now has four vaccines to immunize people against COVID-19 with high, but slightly varying efficacy rates.
The messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines being made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, as well as Moderna, are a novel technology that before COVID-19 had never been approved for widespread use in humans.
While DNA is the large and complex molecule that stores all of genetic coding that makes us who we are, RNA carries individual pieces of that code out into the body with the instructions on how to carry out the body’s work.
In the case of mRNA vaccines, they are carrying the genetic code for part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which teaches our bodies to mount a defence against the virus.
Both vaccines are 95 per cent effective agains moderate to severe disease.
The COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, is the fourth vaccine to be approved in Canada and the first and only one Canada has purchased that requires just a single dose. Efficacy 72 – 85 per cent.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, while not recommended for use on seniors, opens the door for provinces to start vaccinating younger populations with the newly authorized vaccine with a 63 per cent efficacy.
The Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines are based on a more traditional type of technology.
This week’s web poll asks if you have a preference of which vaccine you’d like to receive?