Differences between the Vaccines

IN COVID-19 Vaccines

This is a work-in-progress.

See also Part One (Understand The New MRNA Vaccines)

Part Two: SARS-CoV-2 Research for Family & Friends [Part 2]:

Differences between the Vaccines

  • AstraZeneca (Oxford–AstraZeneca, Oxford, ChAd0xl, AZ01227)
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen, J&J, Ad26.COV2.S or JNJ-78436735 or Ad26COVS1)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • Pfizer (Pfizer-BioNTech, Comirnaty, BNT162b2)
  • Novavax (NVX-CoV2373)

Note: I’m only comparing the vaccines that will become available in Australia (as the purpose of this research is to help my friends & family be have more of an understanding on the vaccines before they decide to get the jab or not).

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are similar to each other – they take a common cold virus (AstraZeneca using a chimp virus and Johnson & Johnson using a human virus) to carry the DNA instructions of the spike protein and instruct our cells to create the spike protein to create antibodies. (Australia not going ahead with Johnson & Johnson as its too similar to AstraZeneca, they have approved provisional use of AstraZeneca in over 50’s for now)

Pfizer and Moderna are similar to each other – they contain RNA instructions of the spike protein and instruct our cells to create the spike protein to create antibodies. These are the new mRNA vaccines.

Novavax is different than all of them, but still targets the spike. It creates a spike in a lab, attaches it to insect cells, along with a plant compound to stimulate immune response. So this is more an ‘expected’ type of vaccine – it doesn’t instruct our cells to create the spike protein, but it’s still a ‘new’ way of creating vaccines.

All of the vaccines provided in Australia are new technology, new methods, new mechanisms. I think China is the only country so far who created a more traditional vaccine that uses a dead-version of SARS-CoV-2.

Interesting new vaccines we might see in the future (not yet available) (01) :
1.) Pill-form (targets both Spike & N proteins)
2.) Vaccine using an deactivated version of the actual virus
3.) ‘Zaps’ DNA instructions directly into the skin using electricity.

What we don’t know yet is if any of the vaccines will limit viral transmission or just limit people from developing disease, nor how long their effects will last, nor about any long-term unaccounted-for adverse effects.

AstraZeneca

Oxford/AstraZeneca is the first COVID-19 vaccine introduced to Australia. It is best known for blood clots especially for younger people, and neurological problems in trials. It has been banned in 18 countries and suspended in 4. This actually should’ve made sense to be one of the more safer vaccines, so it’s quite interesting to see that it’s been banned in so many countries, leading those of us who are hesitant on these new vaccines to have a lot of questions that doesn’t seem to be being answered yet.

(02)

NameOxford-AstraZeneca
CodeChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222
TypeViral Vector ChAdOx1 (Chimp adenovirus)
DosagePrime and boost (2 x 0.5ml doses)
2nd Shot12 weeks between doses (Australia) (03)
About a month apart (Some other countries)
Vaccine levels
Temperaturenormal refrigerator temperature 6 months
Cellular EntryChAdOx1 : Adenovirus (Chimpanzee Common Cold virus)
FactSheetsAstraZeneca (TGA)
IngredientsAdenovirus Histidine (L-histidine, amino acid)
histidine hydrochloride monohydrate (amino acid)
sodium chloride (salt)
magnesium chloride hexahydrate (salt)
disodium edetate (EDTA) (salt)
sucrose (sugar)
ethanol absolute (alcohol)
polysorbate 80 (surfactant)
water for injections (diluent)
Mechanismusing Chimpanzee cold virus modified with “spike” protein to make it similar to Covid-19 (unlike the mRNA vaccines, it uses a chimp virus as a trojan horse, but after it enters the cells, it behaves similar to the mRNA vaccines as it directs our own bodies cells to create the spike proteins)
ManufacturedGrown from cells infected with virus in “bioreactors”; then filtered and purified.
NutshellAdenovirus (the modified chimp virus), acts as a delivery vehicle. The adenovirus carries the spike protein in its DNA. The adenovirus carries that genetic material into your body, delivering its modified DNA to your cells. Your cells will then make the spike protein, activating your immune system. Once activated, your immune system creates antibodies to fight off the spike protein
ApprovalEmergency “Provisional” use. Clinical trials still in progress.
SafetySafety in subgroups including the frail elderly, immunosuppressed, and pregnancy is unknown due to the low number of representative participants from these groups.
Not sure
exactly what
this means
Spike-specific T-cell responses as measured by IFN-ɣ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay are induced 14 days after a first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. These do not rise further after a second dose.
More Infooxford-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine (04)
Price$4.50/dose (unverified source)

Dosage Changes:
Their trials had both Low Dose / Standard Dose and Standard Dose / Standard Dose.

The Low dose was apparently an accident, but it turned out more effective (possibly because the low dose replicated a more ‘natural’ viral entry). 

When they used standard dose/standard dose, they think the reason it was less effective, is because the first dose possibly created such a immune response to the chimpanzee adenovirus that the immune system killed the adenovirus before it could insert its SARS-CoV-2 DNA. 

However, interestingly, when I downloaded the TGA factsheet, we are using 2 standard doses with a recommendation of 12 weeks apart. (05)

Warnings:

  • Concurrent illness
    administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should be postponed in individuals suffering from an acute severe febrile illness. However, the presence of a minor infection, such as cold, and/or low-grade fever should not delay vaccination.
  • Thrombocytopenia and coagulation disorders
    COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should be given with caution to individuals with thrombocytopenia, any coagulation disorder or to persons on anticoagulation therapy, because bleeding or bruising may occur following an intramuscular administration in these individual
  • Use in the elderly
    There are currently limited data available for the efficacy and safety in individuals over 65 years of age. The decision to immunise an elderly patient should be decided on a case-by-case basis with consideration of age, co-morbidities, their environment, potential benefits and potential risks
  • Use in individuals with significant co-morbidities
    There are currently limited data available for the efficacy and safety in individuals with significant co-morbidities. The decision to immunise an individual should be made on the basis of potential benefits over risks to that individual.
  • Immunocompromised individuals: The immunogenicity, efficacy and safety of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has not been assessed in immunocompromised individuals, including those receiving immunosuppressive therapy. The immunogenicity of vaccines may be lower in immunosuppressed patients.

Adverse Effects: 

Trial Reactions: injection site tenderness (>60%); injection site pain, headache, fatigue (>50%); myalgia, malaise (>40%); pyrexia, chills (>30%); and arthralgia, nausea (>20%).

Post-Trial Reactions: Transverse Myelitis

Insufficient data: Neurological: Very rare events of demyelinating disorders have been reported following vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. A causal relationship has not been established.

I need to lookup why 18 countries have banned it, but yet it’s still in use. Is it because of the clots or some other issue? I’ll update soon.

Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Italy, and Latvia – suspended due to thromboembolic events. (06)

Pfizer and Moderna

Not much differences between Pfizer and Moderna. Both use the new technology called messenger RNA (mRNA) that delivers genetic material into our cells with a piece of RNA that our cell will use to make instructions to create a piece of the virus spike protein. Once the immune system detects the copies of the spike protein, it creates antibodies against it. The body can then remember how to trigger an immune response and create antibodies that fight the virus if infected in the future. Approved in UK, EU and US. Australia has just now got Pfizer and has ordered Moderna.

Moderna is a larger ‘product’ (what I’m calling it until I have a better understanding). So it contains more ‘volume of the ingredients’? They both have different storage and transport requirements due to the different lipid particles used (Pfizer’s particle is more vulnerable and needs heavy-duty freezing).

I have spent hours trying to discover the differences between the lipid particles, but apparently I need more time because Google is trying to be ‘helpful’ and is suggesting a thousand things that I’m not looking for. Everywhere wants to give us the ‘child-friendly version’ instead of the ‘guts’. And I want the ‘guts’ – (which is pouring over research papers), but I want it to be easy to understand and to be able to explain it in an easy way. (see my dilemma?).

Although it seems that all of the vaccines are causing clots to some extent (possibly caused by spike protein, as even the virus itself is causing clots). Pfizer has somehow stayed out of the limelight. I’m not sure if the media has something to do with that since visiting the vax victims site where there is no censorship, there’s a lot more being reported (across the board, no matter what vaccine is taken). Moderna has stayed out of the limelight for blood clots even though they have also been reported, but hasn’t escaped being dubbed “The Moderna Arm” (content warning: image search of “The Moderna Arm”) as a large itchy rash occurs at the injection site about a week or so after the jab, possibly caused by the larger aforementioned ingredient. Please note: Videos for the mRNA vaccines were in Part One: Understand The New MRNA Vaccines (07)

Update May 28, 2021CDC has published an increased cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported in the United States after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination since April 2021. Reported cases have occurred predominantly in male adolescents and young adults 16 years of age and older. (08)

NamePfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)Moderna
CodeBNT162b2mRNA-1273
TypeSynthetic mRNA vaccine made from enzymes; sends “messenger” RNA into body with instructions on how to produce antigens.Same as Pfizer “mRNA”
DosagePrime and boost (2 doses)Prime and boost (2 doses)
2nd Shot21 days later28 days later
Vaccine levels30 micrograms100 micrograms
TemperatureArrives -112°F to -76°FArrives 13°F and 5°F
Cellular EntryLipid particlesLipid particles
FactSheetsPfizer (FDA) (09)Moderna (FDA) (10)
Main Ingredient30 mcg of a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2.

100 mcg of nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding the pre-fusion stabilized Spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Ingredientslipids (0.43 mg (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
0.05 mg 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
0.09 mg 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
0.2 mg cholesterol
0.01 mg potassium chloride
0.01 mg monobasic potassium phosphate
0.36 mg sodium chloride
0.07 mg dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
6 mg sucrose
The diluent (0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP) contributes an additional 2.16 mg sodium chloride per dose.
lipid content of 1.93 mg (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG]
2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG]
cholesterol
1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC])
0.31 mg tromethamine
1.18 mg tromethamine hydrochloride
0.043 mg acetic acid
0.20 mg sodium acetate trihydrate
43.5 mg sucrose
ManufactureCultured cell materials made by BioNTech in Germany, then sent to Pfizer in Puurs, Belgium to be formulated and bottled. Similar process in US; and rival French firm Sanofi also making doses.
DistributionFrom Belgium it goes to central NHS depots, then batches of 1,000 doses sent to hospitals and GP hubs where they are thawed from -70C.
ProfitPfizer to make 2bn this year, with 200m for EU, 170m for US. Covax, a WHO initiative, bought 40m for low-income countries.
Price$20/dose (unverified)$10-$50/dose (unverified)
Unique Reactionsmyocarditis and pericarditis (11)myocarditis and pericarditis (12)

axillary swelling, tenderness, & erythema at the injection site (aka “Moderna arm” or “Covid arm”)
More Info


Novavax

Phase 3 trial ended – not yet approved

(13)

Type A protein subunit vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, designed using part of Covid-19, and contains spike proteins produced by moth cells infected with genetically modified version of coronavirus. Also contains an “adjuvant”, which enhances immune response.

NameNovaVax
CodeNVX-CoV2373, or SARS-CoV-2 rS protein nanoparticle with Matrix-M1 adjuvant
TypeProtein Subunit / Moth Cells
DosagePrime and boost (2 x 0.5ml doses)
2nd Shot21 days later
Vaccine levels5ug of NVX-COV2373
Temperaturenormal refrigerator temperature
Cellular EntryMoth Cells (Fall armyworm insect)
FactSheetsNovavax (Pending Approval) (14)
Ingredients5ug of NVX-COV2373 (UNII: UK9AK2IN1P) (NVX-COV2373 – UNII:UK9AK2IN1P)
MONOBASIC POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE (UNII: 4J9FJ0HL51)
POTASSIUM CHLORIDE (UNII: 660YQ98I10)
SODIUM PHOSPHATE
DIBASIC
HEPTAHYDRATE (UNII: 70WT22SF4B)
SODIUM CHLORIDE (UNII: 451W47IQ8X)
SODIUM PHOSPHATE
MONOBASIC
MONOHYDRATE (UNII: 593YOG76RN)
POLYSORBATE 80 (UNII: 6OZP39ZG8H)
WATER (UNII: 059QF0KO0R)
SODIUM HYDROXIDE (UNII: 55X04QC32I)
HYDROCHLORIC ACID (UNII: QTT17582CB)
MATRIX-M1 ADJUVANT (UNII: YZ7P8Y8ECX)
MechanismModified spike protein attached to insect cells, combined with a plant compound (saponin) to stimulate immune response.
ManufacturedGrown from cells infected with virus in “bioreactors”; then filtered and purified.
NutshellThey use virus-like nanoparticles as a base and cover them with genetically engineered pieces of the coronavirus spike protein. Novavax uses an insect virus called a baculovirus to get the coronavirus spike protein into moth cells, which then produce the protein. This is harvested and mixed with an adjuvant – an immune booster – based on saponin, found in soap bark trees. (This is the only one on offer in Australia that has the copies of the spike protein ‘ready-made’ rather than instructing our bodies to make copies)
ApprovalPending. Clinical trials still in progress. Deals with manufacturers and ingredients coming from a few different countries. A lot of governments have pre-ordered, including Australia. (Smaller vaccine makers that has not delivered on this scale before).
SafetyUnknown but looks promising.
Lots of data unknown until clinical data reports come in.
More Info
PriceUnknown at this time

Potential Problems

Common adverse reactions (for all vaccines):

  • injection site pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, joint pain
  • fatigue, headache
  • chills, fever
  • malaise
  • nausea, vomiting
  • swollen lymph nodes

Most of the available vaccines have the same risks and side-effects

Across the board – there are common risks of adverse side-effects being reported in all of them. Various in nature (I’ll get into them in the next section “Risks vs Benefits”), some of them serious, which may be due to underlying conditions – but those with underlying conditions are the main people at risk (for both the vaccines and covid-19), which is the main reason we have concerns. You want our most vulnerable to have the vaccines; so we need to know they are actually safe for them to take.

Whilst AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson had more media coverage regarding blood clotting risks, mRNA vaccines Pfizer & Moderna have also had blood clotting cases, and those who contract COVID-19 also report blood clots. Is it something to do with the spike protein itself that is causing it?

We have not long ago discovered that the spike protein itself damages and attacks our vascular system on a cellular level, (15) (16) and that the vaccines spike protein may also effect host cells. (17) Perhaps this is why people are getting strokes and clots regardless of whether they are vaccinated or get COVID-19?

It doesn’t necessary mean not to take the vaccines and the studies even suggest that taking the vaccine will offer better protection, however they never referenced how they came to that conclusion or showed a study that proved how they are different. How exactly is the ‘fake’ spike (they created in the study) different than the ‘fake’ spike the vaccines make? And how are they unlike the spike protein in the virus? The suggestion that the vaccine won’t cause the same damage looks like it was added as an ‘after-thought’.

Any additional new research that identifies ‘red flag markers’ for those who are hesitant, needs to be honestly and methodically addressed instead of dismissed by adding a one-liner. Is there any research on any of that? Or is it just a guess? Where can we see the exact studies you looked at, to make the same determination? People’s lives are at stake here, we want to know that the vaccine is actually safer than the virus – this is not something that has been adequately addressed – don’t dismiss our concerns with a one-liner – find out for sure and show us how the data supports your claim. We want to believe but for the hesitant to believe that the spike protein in the vaccine may not cause problems – you need to give us more evidence.

18 countries have so far banned AstraZeneca, and other countries, including Australia say that it’s no longer recommended for under 50’s but are still recommending it for those most at risk. At the same time, the vaccine fact-sheet (18) states there’s limited data available for the safety and that it should be decided on a case-by-case basis for those who are over 65 or have health issues… and in the same breath our government is reiterating ‘calling the hotline to get vaccinated’ because “only getting vaccinated will end the pandemic”.

TGA Oxford-AstraZeneca Fact Sheet:

Use in the elderly

There are currently limited data available for the efficacy and safety in individuals over 65 years of age. The decision to immunise an elderly patient should be decided on a case-by-case basis with consideration of age, co-morbidities, their environment, potential benefits and potential risks

Use in individuals with significant co-morbidities

There are currently limited data available for the efficacy and safety in individuals with significant co-morbidities. The decision to immunise an individual should be made on the basis of potential benefits over risks to that individual.

Plus we’re not even sure ‘everyone’ actually ‘needs’ the vaccine – as of today (June 1st 2021) there is still no data showing that it actually stops the spread. There’s “we hope”, there’s “it looks like it might decrease the viral load(19) which might indicate that it “may ‘help’ to reduce the spread”, but if we are weighing up our apparent ‘choice’ in this: if we have found alternative treatment protocols, and don’t yet trust the risk we’re taking with the new fast-tracked vaccines, the main thing left is… “are we actually putting other people at risk if we don’t get the vaccine?“.

So far, (as at June 1st, 2021) the jury is out on whether it can actually stop the spread. Those who are vaccinated, can still spread the virus and still get the virus. The vaccine will hopefully reduce their symptoms, which may in turn reduce viral load, which may in turn ‘lessen’ the spread, but there’s no data yet on whether it can effectively protect others around them, which is a big question mark for those of us with hesitancy.

We don’t want to harm others with our choices, we don’t want to put anyone at risk, and we don’t want to give bad advice to others, but we don’t have all the information to make an informed decision, we don’t know which path is the right one, and we don’t just hold our arms out blindly when there’s all these question marks that aren’t being adequately answered.

Please remember we are real people trying to find answers – we’re not scientists or medical professionals and a lot of the studies have a lot of scientific and medical jargon that we struggle to understand, and that there are both scientists and medical professionals who DO understand the jargon who are choosing not to get the new vaccines. We’re at a stand-still until we get all our questions answered.

Our family, friends and loved ones are getting these new vaccines. We want to know that it’s safe for our most vulnerable to get. But we have a long list of concerns that haven’t been addressed.

Continue to Part Three: Potential Problems with these new Vaccines / Risks vs Benefits (Pending)

See all posts that I’ve completed in the series (Summary of COVID-19 Posts)

Any notes I’ve taken when researching are collected in the following spreadsheet (before adding to this post). You can check to see if there are any updates here:

Penny... on Health
Penny... on Health

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not medical science or medical advice. I do not have any medical training aside from my own research and interest in this area. The information I publish is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, disorder, pain, injury, deformity, or physical or mental condition. I just report my own results, understanding & research.