COVID-19 - A Vaccines Roll Call.

As COVID-19 virus remains front and center of our existence, vaccine hesitancy presents an unusual challenge in the race to get ahead of a pandemic. Experience shows hesitancy to reside everywhere, even among the most unlikely demographics, persons least expected to reject vaccination. Even more surprising is the prevalence among healthcare workers ,doctors etc, and of course regular folks .  Questions abound about the the COVID-19 vaccines, and frequently from those who have received at least one or more vaccines in the past without questioning vaccine or vaccination. Many have received vaccines before like those required for enrollment in elementary schools , college attendance  and even to gain employment in hospitals and healthcare environment. Some of the questions and theories are directed at companies behind the vaccines, companies like Pfizer, many a times  by the same folks who embraced viagra, a Pfizer product, as a bedtime snack. Many questions are legitimate and deserve carefully offering of reasoned explanation by proponents. Commonly encountered questions are about the speed of vaccine development etc, , effect on reproductive health, suspicions arising from historical missteps, racism and unethical conduct of human trial around people of color. Yet a good amount of hesitancy is fueled by myths and rooted in political and religious misinformation culture. Conspiratorial themes are abundant and many are quite head spinning such as the claim of insertion of surveillance, monitoring chips, mind altering timed devices by authorities through vaccination.  Notwithstanding all these challenges the needle appears to be swinging in the right direction. As hard as it is, the world will overcome and overtake the virus, and where it not for the challenges presented it would have cost fewer lives.

All the three vaccines offered in the USA received Emergency Use  Authorization (EUA) following clinical studies that focused on proving their safety, immunogenicity  and above all effectiveness in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 infection. A fourth vaccine, NOVAVAX*, is on track to come into use in the USA. 

The Pfizer (BioNTech SE) Vaccine:

Type of Vaccine

  • A messenger RNA

Efficacy 95%.

Proven to prevent serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.

FDA approved - NO (Pending, submitted May 7th)

FDA Authorization For Emergency Use  (EUA)- YES (December 11th 2020)

# of shots 2, at least 21 days apart.

Who should get it ? - persons ages 16 years and older 

FDA Authorization (EUA) in 12-15 years old submitted YES Approved YES today May 5th 2021

EUA in 5 to 11 years old ? NO (Expected to be submitted in mid-September).

EUA in 2 to 5 years old ? NO. (Expected to be submitted in mid-September)

EUA 6 months to 2 years ? NO (Expected submission to FDA in late November).


The Moderna Vaccine:

Type of Vaccine

  • A messenger RNA

Efficacy 94.1%

Proven to prevent serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.

FDA approved - NO 

FDA Authorized For Emergency Use - YES Dec. 18, 2020 

# of shots 2, at least 28 days apart.

Who should get it ? Persons 18 years and older

FDA Authorization (EUA) in 12 to 17 years old - NO  - pending - Clinical study completed.

FDA Authorization (EUA) in 6months 11 years old - NO  - Clinical study enrolling.


Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ)COVID-19 vaccine:

Type of vaccine

  • Adenovirus vector-based, one dose.

Efficacy 66.3 %

Proven to prevent serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.

FDA Authorization EUA - YES-  Feb. 27, 2021

# of shots 1.

Who should get it ? 18 years old and older.

In our next post we will discuss in the interest of our readers abroad some of the other vaccines including AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Sputnik V and Curevac.