Tomorrows first Pfizer prick in the Netherlands, how are the other vaccines going?

Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) wants everyone in the Netherlands to have had the chance to get vaccinated by the end of September. Only the PFIZER/BionTech vaccine is currently approved in the European Union. Around the world, more than two hundred different vaccines are being worked on. In Europe, agreements have been made with six vaccine developers.

Yesterday De Jonge wrote in a Chamber letter about the Dutch vaccination strategy that the implementation depends on approval, admission and final delivery of these vaccines. For example, the development of a vaccine may be delayed because there are still questions about the research or problems in a factory. Also, vaccines may lose weight because they do not work well enough or because problems arise in terms of safety and side effects.

In order to deal with these potential setbacks, the EU has deployed six different developers. This is what they are, and that‘s how it stands:

Biontech/Pfizer

The European Medicines Agency EMA approved this vaccine on 21 December. It is expected that the Netherlands will receive 8.4 million vaccines this year, with which 4.2 million people can be vaccinated. The European Commission and EU Member States have decided to order additional doses. If it is right, this will produce more than 3.8 million vaccines in our country later this year.

The vaccine should be administered twice, with the second vaccination ideally 21 days after the first for maximum protection. Some countries are considering waiting longer with the second inoculation; manufacturers stress that the vaccine has not been tested on it.

In the Netherlands tomorrow, the first health care staff will receive the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine. This is happening in Veghel; yesterday the vaccination line was still under construction there:

Moderna

This American vaccine has already been approved in the United States, Canada and Israel, and is expected to happen tomorrow in the EU. The European Union has ordered a total of 160 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, of which 6.2 million should go to the Netherlands this year. Two pricks per person are needed, with an interval of about a month. In total, more than 3 million Dutch people can be vaccinated with it.

According to Minister De Jonge, it is expected that the first vaccines can be delivered by the end of January. Moderna previously informed DeccEit that it was not yet able to mention a specific date. Currently, it is planned that nursing home residents, GGZ clients and home residents over 75 years old and non-mobile home residents between 60 and 75 will be vaccinated.

Oxford/astrazeneca

The Coronavaccin of Oxford University and Pharmaceutical AstraZeneca was approved by the UK authorities on 30 December. The Netherlands has agreements for 11.7 million vaccines, which provide protection for some 5.8 million people. Initially, it was expected that this vaccine would be the first to be available, but in the autumn it was found that Biontech/PFIZER was faster.

It is still unclear when this vaccine will be authorised in the EU. This is partly due to the scientific data provided by AstraZeneca. This led to confusion about the correct dose. The vaccine would provide 90% protection for subjects who first received half a dose of the vaccine and a month later a whole dose. In people who received a whole dose twice, it would only be 62 percent effective. In addition, in September there was a setback, the study was temporarily shut down because a test subject appeared to have a serious condition.

This vaccine has a shelf life of at least six months in a regular refrigerator. This makes logistics a lot easier than with the PFIZER/Biontech vaccine, which has to be stored at -70 degrees. Because there are relatively many vaccines available, this vaccine is also intended for Dutch people between 18 and 60 years without medical indication. They could be vaccinated from April or May.

According to De Jonge, the Astrazeneca vaccine will be discussed by the EMA this week. He writes in the Chamber’s letter to be optimistic that ‘we will be able to have this vaccine in the EU as soon as is responsibly ‘.

Janssen

The American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) expects to have the corona vaccine ready sometime in the spring. The J&J vaccine is developed by its subsidiary Janssen in Leiden. The main advantage of this vaccine, according to the developers, is that it only needs to be vaccinated once. At the beginning of December, the EEA started a rolling review. This means that the results of ongoing investigations will be shared with the EEA, while the research is still in full swing.

Topman Paul Stoffels said in mid-December on Belgian television that there is a major study in North America, South America and Africa with a total40,000 people. According to Stoffels, this study will be completed at the end of January and the company will come out with research results. This should show whether the vaccine protects people in practice against covid-19, hoping that vaccination can be started in the United States in March and a month later in Europe.

The Netherlands has ordered a total of 11.3 million doses of this vaccine. The majority of these could be delivered in the third quarter, according to the current expectation.

CureVac

This vaccine is developed by a German biopharmaceutical company. The development is somewhat less far than from the previously mentioned vaccines. The UMC Utrecht started a major study with 2000 volunteers on December 28. One half gets the vaccine, the other half a placebo. Participants are given a prick twice, with four weeks in between.

A total of 35,000 people worldwide participate in a survey in Europe and South America, reported the company in mid-December. If the studies go well and it is approved, the company hopes that this vaccine can appear on the market in the third quarter.

The Netherlands has ordered 8.6 million doses of this vaccine, allowing a total of 4.3 million people to be vaccinated.

Sanofi/GSK

In December, it was announced that the development of this vaccine was delayed. The vaccine does not work well in the elderly, they do not produce enough antibodies. The developers of Sanofi and GSK are now in the process of adjusting the vaccine. In the second quarter, they hope to start the Phase 3 study, the final phase of research before a pharmaceutical can submit the study to authorities such as the European EEA. Once approved, the product is expected to become available only in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Netherlands has an option on almost 12 million doses of this vaccine. With this, just under 6 million people can be vaccinated.