The highly contagious variants of the coronavirus are fuelling the surge of fresh cases of COVID-19 leading to more lockdowns and rapid vaccination drive.
Several vaccine makers are already testing new versions of their shots, tuned to the strains. Since the pandemic set in last year, the vaccine’s rollout has been affected by apprehensions and fears of people.
The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech SE is seen to be highly effective six months after its second dose, with no serious safety concerns so far. The vaccine makes use of messenger RNA to carry genetic instructions to cells in the making of proteins. And the protection has remained stable across race, gender, age, ethnicity, and also with individuals with underlying health complications, as per the makers.
As Johnson & Johnson had been expected to deliver over 50 million doses to European Union in the first quarter, there was a delay due to potential safety concerns.
Last month, researchers in Norway and Germany said that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine could trigger an autoimmune reaction in people causing blood clots despite the shot’s benefits exceeding potential health risks. Both AstraZeneca and J&J’s vaccines are based on similar technology—both use a modified common cold virus for carrying genetic instructions to human cells to produce spike protein located on the surface of coronavirus.
Many health officials have started limiting the J&J vaccine for older people.
This recommended cessation has stirred a disruption in the mass vaccination campaign that is on the way to vaccinate as many people as possible before COVID-19 variants render the vaccines less effective. However, barring significant findings, the vaccines of AstraZeneca and J&J should return to shelves soon.