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COVID Vaccine Prices, Efficacy, Safety Compared

Humanity is betting on vaccines to defeat the pandemic.
by Joel Guinto
Jan 3, 2021
Photo/s: Jack Guez, Agence France-Presse

Humanity will roll out in 2021 an unprecedented vaccine drive to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and drug companies from the U.S., UK, China and Russia are racing to test and manufacture as many doses as possible in the hopes of ending the pandemic.

Here's what we know so far about the leading vaccine candidates that have been administered or are under advanced clinical trials. Quoted prices (two doses) are from the Philippine SenateCheck this page regularly for updates.

AstraZeneca/Oxford University

Price: P610
Efficacy: 70% on average
Country of origin: UK

This vaccine's biggest selling points are its price and the fact that it can be transported at regular refrigerator temperatures, compared to sub-zero for other vaccines. This makes transporting the vaccine easier.

It has been approved in the UK and in the Philippines, top businessmen have placed an advance order for nearly three million doses. AstraZeneca aims to produce up to three billion doses this year.

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Efficacy: Up to 95%
Country of Origin: U.S.

Aside from the U.S., the UK, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico have approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Transporting this vaccine will be a challenge as it requires storage of -70 degrees Celsius. In the U.S., the military set up Operation Warp Speed to ship millions of doses out to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and long-term care facilities.

Last December, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines could've secured Pfizer vaccines in early 2021 had it not been for one government official, whom he said "dropped the ball."


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Sinovac Biotech

Price: P3,629.50
Efficacy: 50% to 90%
Country of Origin: China

Continue reading below ↓
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Indonesia started its vaccine program last December using Sinovac and the Philippines hopes to receive its order as early as March. Sinovac applied for human trials in the country last October.

According to a Reuters report, data from a late-stage trial in Turkey showed a 91.25% success rate, while researchers in Brazil said its efficacy was between 50% and 90%.


Price: Up to P7,200 ($150 according to the New York Times)
Efficacy: 79.34%
Country of Origin: China

The vaccine from Sinopharm's Beijing affiliate was cleared by Chinese authorities in late December 2020. The efficacy rate of 79.34% based on tests in China compared to 86% based on tests in the UAE, according to Reuters.

President Rodrigo Duterte's guards got vaccinated with the Sinopharm drug, Malacanang said in December.


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Price: P3,904 to P4,504
Efficacy: 95%
Country of Origin: U.S.

Continue reading below ↓

From a biotech startup, Moderna rose to prominence in 2020 owing to its work on a COVID-19 vaccine. 

One of its first projects was to try to develop targeted vaccines against various types of cancer, research which is still underway. But Moderna quickly pivoted to addressing viruses and several clinical trials are taking place involving the Zika virus, Epstein-Barr and others.


Price: P1,220
Efficacy: 95%
Country of Origin: Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin touted the vaccine as early as Augus, saying one of his daughters received it.

Russia's health ministry, the state-run Gamaleya research centre and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said the efficacy rate could still improve in future testing.

"No unexpected adverse events were identified as part of the research," it said, though some of those vaccinated suffered short-term effects including fever, weakness, fatigue, and headache.

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