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The Pfizer BioNtech Vaccine

Cayman Islands Government
Published: January 25 2022
Last Updated: January 25, 2022

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This vaccine is used in Cayman Islands through assistance provided by the United Kingdom to the UKOTs.

 

What Is In The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine?

In simple terms, the vaccine contains the messenger RiboNucleic Acid (the mRNA), which is the active ingredient, along with lipids (fatty substances) that protect the mRNA; salts that help to balance the acidity in your body, and sugar (sucrose), which helps the molecules maintain their shape during freezing. This is the active substance.

Here is the technical list of ingredients:

The COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 contains:

  • the active substance, which is BNT162b2 RNA.

Each dose is 0.3 mL with 30 micrograms mRNA.

  • the vaccine contains polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG) as part of ALC-0159

The other ingredients are:

  • ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
  • ALC-0159 = 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
  • 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
  • cholesterol
  • potassium chloride
  • potassium dihydrogen phosphate
  • sodium chloride
  • disodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
  • sucrose

The vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives, mercury or antibiotics.

 

The Pfizer/BioNTech Is An MRNA Vaccine. What Does That Mean?

The types of vaccines that currently exist rely on the same basic principle: to stimulate our immune system to responding to a real viral threat by mimicking a natural infection without actually casing you to be sick.
 
There are four main types of vaccines:
  • inactivated virus (like for polio or rabies or influenza);
  • protein based (e.g. for hepatitis B or whooping cough);
  • viral vector (which includes the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 and is a similar technology to that for smallpox and Ebola);
  • and the mRNA type. mRNA stands for ‘messenger RiboNucleic Acid’. The mRNA type of vaccine transports the genetic sequence for the spike protein (from the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus) into our own cells. Our cells then produce the spike proteins which induce an immune response. This does not cause COVID-19 but means that if the body is exposed to the virus, the immune system would recognise and attack the virus.
The mRNA type of vaccine has so far been produced for COVID-19 disease by two different companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
 

How Effective And Safe Is This COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offers up to 95% protection against COVID-19 disease from the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Following the emergence of the Delta variant, latest data suggest that the vaccine offers lower protection against this strain with 80% protection against symptomatic disease. However, protection against serious illness and death is good where the Pfizer-BioNtech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines reduce the risk of death by 85%.

It is important to note that before a vaccine is shown to be safe and effective, numerous steps needed to be achieved before mass distribution. Additionally, the MHRA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States continue to do continuous and intense safety monitoring.

The safety and immunogenicity of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were evaluated in clinical trials in six countries: the USA, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey.

The clinical trials looked at the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine in different age groups and at different dose levels. Over 43,500 participants took part in the clinical trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Half of the participants received the COVID-19 vaccine and the other half received a placebo vaccine. Results from phase three clinical trials suggest that the vaccine can prevent 95% of vaccinated adults from getting COVID-19 disease and that the vaccine works equally well in people in different age groups, races and ethnicities. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.

Following an additional study in aged 12-15 years, which generated additional safety and efficacy data, the approval was extended to those in this age group in June 2021.

The vaccine is now approved by the (MHRA) for use in people 12 years old and over, and is also approved by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration for use in people aged 16 and over. The FDA continues its emergency use authorisation for 12-15 year-olds.

 

Will I Get Side Effects With The COVID-19 Vaccine?

With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, a number of people have got some local pain around the injection site. The most common other events were headache, muscle aches and pain, chills, , a raised temperature and possible diarrhoea. More people experience side effects after the second dose than after the first dose but for those who experience side effects, these usually begin soon after receiving a vaccine and may last 1-2 days

With the AstraZeneca vaccine, mild pain and tenderness were common. Short lived symptoms of headache and tiredness, muscle aches, feeling generally unwell, a raised temperature and chills, and joint pain and nausea were also experienced.

Serious adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination are uncommon but may occur. These include:

  • Anaphylaxis
    • Approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the USA)
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), or blood clots with low platelets, after Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J) and AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccination.
    • As of Sept 15, 2021, there has been 47 confirmed reports out of 14.7 million doses given in the USA with J&J and in the UK, as of June 28, 2021, around 1 case has been reported for every 50,000 first doses of AZ in persons under 50 years of age
  • Reports of myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly in young males, after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination such as (Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna).
    • As of Sept 15, 2021, there has been 890 confirmed reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. Most patients with myocarditis or pericarditis who received care responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly.

 

How Many Doses Do You Need Of This COVID-19 Vaccination?

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses separated by an interval of 21 days for full protection. You will get full protection from this vaccine usually 1–2 weeks after getting your second dose. When you get the vaccine, you will be advised when you need to come back for your second dose.

 

How Will The COVID-19 Vaccine Be Administered?

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be administered by intramuscular (IM) injection, similar to the ‘flu shot.

 

When Can I Get The COVID-19 Vaccine?

Anyone over the age of 12 years old in the Cayman Islands may receive the vaccine at any time during the opening hours on the schedule. This is true for dose one and dose two.

The schedule is available here.

 

 

 

 

Identification

All persons must present photo identification to show their date of birth. 

You do not need to provide identification to demonstrate that you are ordinarily or legally resident in the Cayman Islands.

 

Second Dose

Persons who have received their first dose are reminded to get their second dose 21 days later or no longer than 12 weeks after the first dose. You must bring your vaccination card reflecting your first dose to your second dose.

Do not laminate your vaccination card at any time.

 

Home Bound

Medical professionals will be visiting healthcare and institutional facilities to ensure that those who cannot visit clinics can opt to receive the vaccine.

If somebody has been unable to attend the clinics they should call the 'Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or their local HSA District Health Centre to arrange for a vaccine to be given in their home.

 

Tags: Travel, vaccine