What are the differences between Sinovac and mRNA vaccines?
The Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency-use-listing (EUL). Based on the WHO’s EUL assessment, Sinovac has been found to meet international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing. Through the listing on WHO’s EUL, this brings yet another boost in the global vaccine supply, with the hopes to accelerate the vaccination drive in countries all over the world.
In Singapore, on 2 June, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that Sinovac, following its listing on WHO’s EUL, would be available for use under the Special Access Route (SAR) initiative. While details on how the public can access and use Sinovac are yet to be announced, what are the key differences between Sinovac and the other approved mRNA vaccines?
What is Pfizer-BioNtech?
The Pfizer vaccine is one of the more familiar COVID-19 vaccines to the public since it was the first vaccine to be approved by the WHO in the COVID-19 fight. Currently deployed as part of Singapore’s national vaccination drive, the Pfizer vaccine is one of two mRNA vaccines that are used in vaccination centres in Singapore.
What is Moderna?
The Moderna vaccine is the second mRNA vaccine that has been approved for use in the national vaccination drive in Singapore.
What is Sinovac?
The Sinovac vaccine is a vaccine that uses an inactivated form of the COVID-19 virus, instead of the mRNA technology that Pfizer and Moderna use. Developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, this vaccine has been approved for use and widely used in countries like China, Indonesia and other South American countries.
|How it works||Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine enables humans cells to produce a ‘spike protein’ that is present in COVID-19
This spike protein triggers our immune system to recognise the virus, which our bodies will then produce antibodies to fight it
|Inactivated virus vaccine utilises virus particles that have been killed to stimulate our bodies to produce an immune response|
|Storage||-70°C||30 days with refrigeration
6 months at -20°C
|2°C to 8°C refrigeration temperature
Up to 3 years
21 days apart
28 days apart
14 days apart
(Source: Channel News Asia, World Health Organisation, US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention)
Sinovac is part of the MOH’s SAR programme and studies have shown that Sinovac is proven to have 100 per cent efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 and hospitalisation for the studied population. However, as Sinovac is not a part of the national vaccination programme, individuals who receive this vaccine administration will be ineligible for the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP) if they develop any side effects.The good news is, people who are immunocompromised, allergic or unsuitable to receive the current mRNA vaccines have a possible solution to be protected with China’s Sinovac vaccine.
In the upcoming days, more details will be released on pricing, informed consent process and safety of the patients who prefer to be administered with the Sinovac vaccine.
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