“We have concerns over the logistical challenges the Pfizer vaccine has left us with. It’s been hugely difficult to manage – the deep freeze conditions, the rapid timeframe it needs to be used in,” said Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GPs’ committee.
“It’s been a mammoth task for practices… We hope the AstraZeneca vaccine will remove many of these problems because it can be stored in a standard fridge and there are going to be more doses available.”
And then there are the costs. The UK government won’t say what it is paying for the Pfizer vaccine, citing commercial confidentiality, but leaked figures show the EU is paying more than £10 per dose.
The Oxford shot, in contrast, comes in at around £2 per dose (in the UK at least), and the company has pledged to continue to provide it at cost until the summer. In low and middle-income countries, it will continue to be sold at cost in perpetuity – perhaps the single best prospect of bringing the pandemic to an end globally.
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said: “The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is extremely attractive in that it is inexpensive, scalable, and can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius.
“These attributes will enable its use worldwide, including in low-income and middle-income countries, alongside other safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, and the large supplies that will become available in 2021 mean that this vaccine could be a gamechanger in terms of our efforts to end the acute phase of the pandemic.”
And what of mutations? That’s a changing picture, too, with increasing evidence that at least some of the new virus variants might affect how well the vaccines work. However, scientists are still working to establish how significant this impact might be, and have stressed that the vaccines can be tweaked to take this into account if it becomes necessary.
Indeed, like the flu jab, all Covid vaccines may need to be tweaked like the annual flu jab to keep up with “viral drift”, they add.
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The post 2021-02-04 03:34:35 | From transmission to efficacy, the Oxford and Pfizer Covid vaccines compared
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