Dr Jack A T Edmonds MB BS FRCGP

Your Health in Our Hands

News & Updates

COVID Vaccines

Pfizer BioNtech vaccine looks good on paper. The trials showed about 85% protection after one jab and 95% after a second jab 3 weeks after the first.  The Government / NHS England have decided that it is better to vaccinate as many people as possible with one vaccine than to give 2 vaccines as recommended within 3 weeks. Now, the second jab is being given at 10 to 12 weeks. Early concerns about allergic reactions have been put aside in the US and UK. Pfizer vaccine is ranked one in UK and Europe because that is where it was developed.  Also, it is cheap and being supplied across the world at cost ( £3 a shot ). The problem with it is logistics because it has to be transported at minus 70C .

I had my Pfizer injection yesterday. Absolutely no adverse effect including very little pain at the injection site - less than a flu shot. My 93 year old Mum had hers as well with similar outcome.  However, across the board about 30% of recipients develop transient clinical symptoms such as pain, fever, aching and prostration . These are not life threatening and treated symptomatically at home .

I agree with this strategy. One jab for everyone is going to save more lives and take pressure off hospitals and is more advantageous than following manufacturers recommendations. I can foresee that a second shot will become superfluous to requirements as time goes by .

Moderna vaccine looks safe and effective. It still needs a booster for maximum effect but gives good cover after the first jab. It is ranked one in the US because that is where it was developed. The manufacturers are selling it for profit which makes it about 3 times more expensive than Pfizer.

Astra Zeneca Oxford is a good vaccine plagued by bad PR and inept record keeping. There is no evidence that it causes neurological problems more often than any other vaccine. There was 1 ( just 1 ) case of ALS during trials which was investigated and found not to be related to the vaccine yet there is belief that it increases the risk of neurological adverse effects. Many more neurological events occur with Yellow Fever , Rabies , Meningitis and MMR vaccines yet these are reckoned to be "safer". The PR is also damaged by the "half dose then full dose" debacle when patients were given the wrong dose initially. Ongoing trials will show what the best dose and efficacy of this product will turn out to be but if efficacy truly is only 60% ( I think it will be much higher ) that is still enough to qualify for WHO recognition ( efficacy of any vaccine for COVID must be over 50% ) and much better that flu vaccine which varies from only 15% up to 70% efficacy in any given year and yet is heavily pushed by the CDC and PHE .

Sinovac from China is probably the most used world wide because it was the first to be developed and is extremely cheap and easily available to any country that has a political affiliation with China or dissatisfaction with the West. BUT, the safety of the product has to be questioned, we don`t know much about short term adverse reaction and it seems to be only just over the 50% effectiveness threshold .

Other vaccines are being developed across the world (e.g the one being given in India right now)  and several are in phase III clinical trials . We have no idea if they will be more effective, have less side effects, be sufficiently effective to require only one shot , cost more or be ready for mass production. I am sure that the best of the cream will rise to the top.

Meanwhile, I would certainly recommend any of the 3 vaccines licensed in the UK and I am sure that mass immunisation is the only way we will be safe enough to get back to a semblance of normal life free from the risk of clogging up hospitals with patients suffering from a single disease to the detriment of all others. The alternative is to stay at home and shun all contact with human beings.


Date posted: 18 January 2021

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Information source: BBC Health