What you need to know now about the 5 vaccines being procured by the PH government 2
Woman holds a vial labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" over dry ice in this illustration taken on Dec. 5, 2020. Dado Ruvic, Reuters

What you need to know now about the 5 vaccines being procured by the PH government

 Is one better than the other?
RHIA GRANA | Feb 25 2021

There’s no topic more important these days than the Covid-19 vaccines. When are we going to get them? How efficacious are they? How long can they protect us from the coronavirus? Will they be effective for the new variants? How long before we get to return to our normal lives after we get inoculated? The questions can go on and on. As researches continue, as well as clinical trials, some of the answers we will only get in due time.

But here’s what we know so far: there are three Covid vaccines that have been granted the emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration—the Pfizer-BioNTech, Astra Zeneca, and the Sinovac. We are still awaiting updates regarding the other vaccines, and when they will actually reach our shores.

Here are some fast facts about the five vaccines currently being procured by the government. We’re hoping these will clear your mind of all the confusion, and help you decide what to get, or what to wait for. 


Vaccine name: Novavax (NVX-CoV2373)

Manufacturer: Novavax, Inc.

Place of origin: United States 

Efficacy rate: 89.3% in UK Phase 3 clinical trial; approx. 90% efficacy against UK and South Africa variants 

How it works: The protein vaccine, attached to a carrier virus (a baculovirus), triggers the immune system to allow our body to fight the Covid-19 virus when we get exposed to it. 

Dose: Two doses, 21 days apart

Common side effects: Mild pain and tenderness where the shot was given, fatigue or muscle aches, headaches.


Vaccine name: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (BNT162b2)

Manufacturer: Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech

Place of origin: United States and Germany

Efficacy rate: 95% beginning 28 days after the first dose; 94% in adults over 65 years of age

How it works: The vaccine introduces into our body a genetic material called the messenger RNA, which instructs our cells to make the “spike” proteins of the coronavirus. These proteins activate our immune response, providing us the protection when we encounter the Covid-19 virus. 

Dose: Two doses of 0.3 mL each, 21 days apart

Common side effects: Pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. 


What you need to know now about the 5 vaccines being procured by the PH government 3
A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, Sept. 24, 2020. Thomas Peter, Reuters/File

Name: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (mRNA-1273)

Manufacturer: ModernaTX, Inc.

Place of origin: Massachusetts, United States

Efficacy: 94.1% 

How it works: Like the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, this also uses mRNA to teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response. Our body then makes antibodies that help us fight the infection if we contract the real virus.

Dose: 2 shots, one month (28 days) apart

Common side effects: Pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, fever.


Vaccine name: COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S[recombinant])

Manufacturer: University of Oxford and AstraZeneca

Place of origin: United Kingdom

Efficacy: 70%; offers limited protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the South Africa variant 

How it works: This vaccine uses the modified version of the common cold virus from chimpanzees (adenovirus), which is made to resemble the coronavirus. Once the vaccine is injected into the patient, antibodies will be triggered to fight the real virus when the patient catches it. 

Dose: Two separate doses of 0.5 mL each. The second dose should be administered between four and 12 weeks after the first dose.

Common side effects: Pain and tenderness of injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle pains, malaise (general feeling of discomfort); fever, chills, and joint pain, nausea.


Product name: CoronaVac (Sinovac SARS-CoV-2 vaccine Vero Cell Inactivated)

Manufacturer: Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

Place of origin: Beijing, China

Efficacy rate: 65.3% on patients aged 18 to 59 years based on trials in Indonesia; up to 91.2% based on trials done in Turkey; 50.4% when used on health care workers exposed to Covid-19. 

How it works: The vaccine is developed from an inactivated version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Exposing the body’s immune system to the virus will allow it to respond to an infection of live coronaviruses. 

Dose: Two doses of 0.5 mL each, given 4 weeks apart

Common side effects: Pain or redness at the injection site, fever, fatigue, cough.