COVID-19 Diary – Day 278

Vaccine Watch Update

Today the US FDA released Moderna’s vaccine trial data, which will be used in its decision to grant emergency authorization for the vaccine candidate. Here are some highlights from the 54-pg document:

  • The vaccine efficiency is shown to be 95.6% for people aged 18-64, and 86.4% for people aged 65 or more.
  • The most common expected side effects were injection site pain (91.6%), fatigue (68.5%), headache (63.0%), muscle pain (59.6%), joint pain (44.8%), and chills (43.4%).
  • How often any of the above symptoms rated as severe by patients ranged from 0.2% to 9.7%.
  • Unexpected side effects included swollen lymph nodes (1.1%).
  • There were no anaphylactic or severe hypersensitivity reactions that took place close enough to the times of inoculations to be considered related to the vaccine.
  • 4 people developed Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis) during the study, 3 in the vaccine group and 1 in the placebo group, but there is insufficient data to connect them to the vaccine.
  • There were only 7 serious adverse events out of ~15,000 people in the vaccine receiving study group.
  • There may be some protection after receiving 1 dose of the vaccine, potentially ranging between 50-80% efficacy, but there is no data regarding long term protection (at this time).
  • There is not enough data (yet) to tell us if the vaccine is safe for pregnant or lactating individuals, children under 18, or those who are immunocompromised. Results from animal testing on rats have shown promising results regarding receiving the vaccine before pregnancy, however.

If you would like to read the document directly, you can find it linked here.

Regarding how the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines compare, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine can be given to children as young as 16, whereas Moderna’s only had test data to recommend 18 and above. Also, Moderna’s vaccine has a ~9% efficacy drop-off for people 65 years old or more. Moderna’s vaccine is much easier to transport to remote locations, however and allows for much higher temperatures in cold storage. For people aged 18-64, there will be almost no notable differences.

Canada to Receive 168k Moderna Vaccine Doses Before the End of the Year

Prime Minister Trudeau announced to Canadians today that we would be receiving 168k doses of Moderna’s vaccine by the end of the year, pending Health Canada’s approval. Many of these doses will be headed to the Northern Territories, and indigenous communities who were not able to receive doses from the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine (for logistics reasons).

Trudeau also confirmed that an additional 200,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine will be arriving in Canada in the next week. It has not yet been reported how many additional doses will be coming to BC.

Inoculations Began Today in BC!

We are happy to announce that earlier today, long-term care worker Nisha Yunus (64) was the first person in BC to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It was a momentous and exciting occasion, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was there overseeing the giving of the shot. You can watch a video of the injection here.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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