The Covid Vaccine

Fri, Jan 20th 2023 at 11:28 am - 1:28 pm

An insight into the development of the vaccine - speaker Brian Carmen-Meakin


At our meeting on 12th January, our own member, Brian Meakin presented his very informative talk - "The Covid Vaccine Story". Brian listed the five vaccines which had eventually achieved approval in the EU, UK and USA. Of these the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had to be kept in storage at -90 to -60C,  presenting logistical problems for deliveries to  vaccination centres and an expiry limitation of 24 hours after warming to ambient temperature. The Astra Zeneca, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were stable between 2-8C. Brian compared the time and stages to granting full approval for new drug development and that of the AZ vaccine. This would be around ten years compared to the fast track - two years for the AZ vaccine. The UK government provided subsidies for the AZ approval and manufacturing sites. Evidence of blood clots and patient deaths was present when statistics for AZ vaccination outcomes were studied - by April 2021 there were 100 such cases and 22 deaths associated with 25 million doses delivered. As a result, currently in UK, only the Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations were given. Even so it is believed that the risk of Covid complications in the unvaccinated is greater than the risk from vaccination for age 30+ patients. 

Now with a large proportion of the UK population having had initial and booster vaccinations, it is understood that 100% protection against catching Covid is not achievable. However, there is good overall protection against the more serious side effects of an infection, possibly leading to hospitalisation. Ken McGrath.

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