Four COVID Vaccines Compared

Two vaccines have been approved for use in the United States a third and fourth are coming soon. Here’s a closer look at them and what it might mean for you.

 

Vaccine developer:PfizerModernaAstraZenecaJohnson & Johnson
How it worksMessenger RNAMessenger RNAInactivated cold virusModified cold virus
When approved/expected approvalDec. 11Dec. 18Could submit application for emergency use authorization in late March.Feb. 27
What percentage of people did it protect from getting infected in clinical studies?95%94.1%70%66.1% globally; 72% in the U.S.; 86% effective against severe disease
How many shots do you need?Two doses, 3 weeks apartTwo doses, 4 weeks apartTwo doses, a month apartOne dose
What are the side effects?Fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, especially after the second dose.Fever, muscle aches, headaches lasting a few days. Effects worse after second dose.Injection site pain, fever, muscle aches, headache.Injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle pain.

How many doses will be available, and when?

 

50 million, starting Dec. 18; 1.3 billion in 202120 million, starting Dec. 21; 80 million for U.S. in 20213 billion planned for 2021100 million doses by summer
Who is it recommended for?People 16 years and olderPeople 18 years and older.Not yet available.People 18 years and older.
What about pregnant women and nursing moms?Pregnant women or nursing moms who want the COVID-19 vaccine should get one, experts say. The vaccine has not yet been studied in pregnant women. Read guidelines here.There’s limited data. Studies in rats who were immunized before and during pregnancy found no safety concerns. The CDC says pregnant women may choose to receive the vaccine.Not yet available.Discuss your options with your healthcare provider.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t get the vaccine?People with a history of allergic reactions to vaccine ingredients including polyethylene glycol, and anyone with a history of allergic reactions to polysorbate.People with a history of allergic reactions to vaccine ingredients including polyethylene glycol, and anyone with a history of allergic reactions to polysorbate.Not yet available.Anyone who’s had a severe allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine.
Any significant side effects?

50 cases of anaphylaxis in people who received the vaccine, mostly women.

Four cases of Bell’s palsy, a type of temporary facial paralysis, reported in people who received the vaccine. This is not more than would be expected in the general population.

21 cases of anaphylaxis in people who received the vaccine, all in women.

Four cases of Bell’s palsy reported in the clinical trials including 3 in the vaccine group, and 1 in the placebo group. This is not more than would be expected in the general population.

Four total serious side effects, including two cases of transverse myelitis.One person went to the hospital for fever associated with the vaccine. Four other serious cases were not related to the vaccine. No serious cases of anaphylaxis were reported.
What about people with lowered immune function?Ok for people whose immune function is lowered by HIV or immunosuppressing drugs if they have no other reasons to avoid it. There is limited safety data in this group.Ok for people whose immune function is lowered by HIV or immunosuppressing drugs if they have no other reasons to avoid it. There is limited safety data in this group.Not yet available.Not yet available.
What about people with autoimmune diseases?No data are available on the safety or effectiveness of mRNA vaccines in people with autoimmune disease. People with autoimmune conditions may still get the shots if they have no other reasons to avoid vaccination.No data are available on the safety or effectiveness of mRNA vaccines in people with autoimmune disease. People with autoimmune conditions may still get the shots if they have no other reasons to avoid vaccination.Not yet available.Not yet available.
Is the vaccine safe for people with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)?To date, no cases of GBS have been seen in people vaccinated for COVID-19. The CDC says a history of GBS is not a reason to avoid vaccination.To date, no cases of GBS have been seen in people vaccinated for COVID-19. The CDC says a history of GBS is not a reason to avoid vaccination.Not yet available.Not yet available.