In the last days, three candidate vaccines against COVID-19 infection have shown great effectiveness against the disease. The three have coincided in exceeding the limit established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), set at 50%, so that the COVID-19 vaccine can be approved.
Recently, the possibility that the quadrivalent vaccine against influenza infection could prevent when contracting the coronavirus and contribute an immunity of up to 39% in those vaccinated against influenza (flu), but experts advise not to lower your guard: “As we are, we must be aware that the flu vaccine protects only against the flu”, points out Amos Garcia Rojas, president of the Spanish Society of Vaccination.
The flu vaccine, effective between 40% and 60%
The fact that the flu vaccine could offer some immunity against COVID-19 clashes with the real effectiveness of the drug against influenza: between 40% and 60%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) They offer studies every year to demonstrate the effectiveness of influenza vaccines in the population. Although it may vary from year to year, the normal thing is that the drug protects the individual between 40% and 60%.
As the CDC reports, current flu vaccines work better against influenza B and influenza A (H1N1) viruses and offer a better protection against influenza A (H2N2) viruses. This year the flu vaccine is quadrivalent, that is, another variant of influenza B has been added to the traditional flu vaccine (2 class A viruses and one class B). The reason has been the situation generated by coronavirus pandemicTherefore, with the information provided by the CDC, this year the vaccine will offer full protection against class A and class B viruses.
It depends on the characteristics of each individual
But even though the current vaccine works better with this class of virus, its effectiveness will also depend on the characteristics of the person to whom the vaccine is given (age and health status), as well as the combination of viruses included in the vaccine and those that are spread in the community.
Despite the vaccine’s efficacy or ability to prevent disease may vary from season to season, the normal thing is that always this effectiveness against the influenza virus is maintained between 40% and 60%.
For some experts, this effectiveness is low because every year a large part of the population is vaccinated against the disease. It is the case of Javier Padilla, a primary care physician, who pointed to The Spanish: “The flu vaccine is one of the ones with the most buts. It has not been shown to be very useful in reducing mortality or income, it has only been shown in specific groups ”, Add.
“The flu vaccine has many drawbacks”
Same opinion Roberto Sanchez, family doctor, for the same medium: “There are worse vaccines and better vaccines. Each one has its peculiarities. The flu vaccine has many drawbacks. Leave many serotypes out. Immunity does not last long, it lasts about four or five months. The effectiveness is not very great. It is likely to have little or moderate benefit in risk groups and no benefit in the general population. This is the reality. There are very prestigious publications that are highlighting it ”, he concludes for The Spanish.
95% in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
The drug from the American pharmaceutical company (Pfizer) and the German biotechnology company (BioNTech) was the first to offer high effectiveness against the coronavirus: 90%. In a few days, Russia and Moderna also reported the high efficacy of their candidate vaccines leaving Pfizer in last position, despite being the first in this “race” to get a vaccine forward.
One week after Pfizer’s first announcement, the companies involved in this drug have increased the efficacy of their candidate vaccine by 5%, what it supposes 95% effectiveagainst infection of SARS-CoV-2. This means that for now the innovative vaccine based on messenger RNA is the one that offers the greatest protection against coronavirus infection.
94.5% effective with Moderna
The antidote of the American biotech company announced the 94.5% of the effectiveness of its coronavirus vaccine days after the Pfizer news. This is how it was ahead of the American pharmaceutical company in the race for the first effective vaccine against the coronavirus, but With the new Pfizer announcement, Moderna’s vaccine, also based on messenger RNA, takes second place.
92% in the Russian vaccine
The Russian vaccine Sputnik V it was the first drug to be registered to begin trials against the disease. Hours after Pfizer announced the 90% effectiveness of its antidote, the Russians equaled Sputnik V’s 90% effectiveness, although hours later they rectified and they raised the effectiveness of their vaccine to 92%.
Vaccines against COVID-19, 30% more effective
Despite the differences in the vaccines and that each one focuses on attacking different types of viruses, if the information provided by the pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies is confirmed by the rest of the scientific community, vaccines against coronavirus would be up to 30% more effective against infection, as opposed to 40-60% of the influenza virus vaccine.