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The difference between the covid vaccines

The difference between the COVID vaccines

COVID vaccines are the number one weapon to ensure our immediate protection against COVID19. There are a few to choose from, each promising its own benefits and level of effectiveness. Each also has its own side effects and downfalls. 

According to a study involving over 700,000 people, a Pfizer third dose can decrease COVID death risk by as much as 81%, reports Open Access.

New research by The Clalit Research Institute finds that a booster jab can make the difference between life and death.

The new analysis, published in The Lancet, finds that a third dose can decrease COVID death risk by 81%, decrease hospitalisation rates by 93%, and lower the risk of severe COVID by 92%.

The global vaccination of populations began earlier this year. Pfizer-BioNTech (The Pfizer), Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are the most widely used vaccines.  

The two-dose Pfizer vaccine and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are the preferred vaccines in South Africa as it has proven efficacy against South Africa’s deadly 501Y.V2 variant – the Beta Strain.

 However, in August 2021, South Africa found that Johnson & Johnson had a slightly lower efficacy in fighting the Beta-strain than Pfizer, but this report is still under review. 

The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s have proven effective against the UK’s Alpha Strain and Delta Strain of the virus, which started in India in late 2020 as well, says Yale Medicine’s Vaccine Content Center.  

The Oxford-AstraZeneca is available in South Africa, but the authorities withdrew its rollout when scientists found it to be ineffective against the Beta Strain.

About the booster shots

Currently, booster shots are being given in many countries, two to six months after your second dose of Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, where these are the preferred vaccines. 

These are administered if you’re 65 or older; you’re over 18 with underlying health conditions such as compromised immunity systems or have cancer, diabetes or heart conditions; live in a long-term care facility, or you are a health care worker or teacher, considered to be high-risk jobs for catching COVID-19. 

Boosters show an additional increase in protection. Some have up to 94 percent protection against COVID if given two months after the second dose. This is in the case of the Pfizer and the Moderna, and two months after the single-shot dose of the Johnson & Johnson. Given at two months, there was a four-fold increase in antibodies, while a 12-fold increase in antibodies was recorded when the booster was given after six months. 

What’s the difference?

Misinformation and fears still reign concerning all the vaccines. They remain under intense scrutiny from global scientists and health bodies, while pharmaceutical companies push further study and development. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, no Covid vaccines contain eggs, latex or preservatives. These ingredients may cause adverse reactions in people who are allergic.

There are allergy warnings on all of the vaccines. Patients who are allergic to polysorbate or have had a bad reaction to the initial dose, shouldn’t receive any further doses. 

Notably, at vaccination sites, everyone has to wait 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine. People who have pre-existing allergies wait 30 minutes. They can only leave once a health care worker checks and clears them. 


The Pfizer can be given to people 12 years and older and pregnant and breastfeeding women.  Get clearance from your doctor first! The eligibility age for the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 18 and older. 

The Pfizer and the Moderna are modern technology mRNA vaccines. They instruct the body’s cells on the making of spike proteins that train the immune systems on how to recognise it. The immune system attacks the spike protein the next time they see it in the form of the actual SARS CoV-2 virus. 


Both Pfizer and Moderna have, in rare cases, triggered a severe allergic reaction – anaphylaxis which could be treated with epinephrine. 

The Johnson & Johnson is a vector vaccine that uses a common harmless virus, an adenovirus which they engineer to be a carrier shell containing a genetic code on spike cells to the cells. It can’t make you sick. Once inside the cells, the code helps the cells produce a spike protein to train the immune system, which creates antibodies and memory cells to fight the actual SARS CoV-2 infection. 

All three of the mentioned above note the following side-effects injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. The Pfizer and Moderna report joint pain, feeling unwell and swollen lymph nodes and, in rare cases, chest pain, shortness of breath and pounding or fluttering heart rate. 

Johnson & Johnson noted the heart symptoms, persistent stomach and headaches, blurred vision, swollen legs, tiny red spots on the skin, and easy bruising. Global health authorities have reported severe illness and even death after people received their vaccines. 

 Remember to get medical cover to prevent any other unwanted illnesses. 


    • Affinity Health members can ay contact us on 0861 11 00 33 and Affinity Health primary healthcare consultant. They will assess your symptoms and offer medical advice before issuing you with a script for medication or referring you to consult an Affinity Health network GPs.
    • Please visit https://www.affinityhealth.co.za/find-doctor/ to locate an Affinity Health network GP closest to you.
  • It is important to call 0861 11 00 33 to check the status of your policy and receive pre-authorisation before visiting a GP.
  • When you receive a prescription from a doctor, please collect medication at a pharmacy linked to the Affinity Health formulary.
  • Network doctors claim directly from Affinity Health. However, the practice may charge additional administration fees. Clients are liable for extra fees and cannot claim from Affinity health. 

Members may consult out-of-network doctors as well.



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