The UK has had four Covid vaccines approved for use – Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen. All but Janssen’s require two doses for maximum protection. People aged under 40 are being offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after evidence linking it to rare blood clots.
“There is no good clinical reason to prefer one over the other.”
You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. You’ll only be offered a specific vaccine if you’re either:
- aged under 40 and do not have a health condition that increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
If this applies to you you’ll only be shown appointments of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine when you book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use technology known as mRNA, which introduces into the body a messenger sequence that contains the genetic instructions for the vaccinated person’s own cells to product the antigens and generate an immune response.
Using mRNA in this way is a new method.
What has been studied extensively is the vaccines’ efficacy, particularly against the Delta variant – the variant first identified in India – that’s now the dominant Covid variant in the UK.
The Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be 96 percent effective against hospitalisation from the variant after two doses.
The studies have not included the Moderna or Janssen vaccines.
But Anthony Fauci, MD, White House medical advisor, told The Washington Post he believes the Modern vaccine would be as effective as Pfizer’s.
Separate Public Health analysis indicates the COVID-19 vaccination programme has so far prevented 14,000 deaths and around 42,000 hospitalisations in older people in England, up to May 30.
The NHS will tell you when it’s your turn to have the COVID-19 vaccine, but once you’ve been contacted there are two ways to book your appointments:
- book online now for appointments at a vaccination centre or a pharmacy
- wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them