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M
COVID-19

This is how
the vaccine works

COVID-19

#InMAPFREmoreUnitedThanEver

If recent months have confirmed one thing, it's the importance of our health. At MAPFRE, we take health seriously — we all should. With that in mind, we have researched all the information currently available about the vaccine so that we can bring this information to you. Because prevention is always better than cure. Especially right now.

How does it work?

How does the COVID-19 vaccine do its job in our bodies? How do our bodies react to the vaccine in order to become immune? This video briefly explains the process.

How does it work?

The race toward immunization

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical laboratories and research groups around the world have been working on an effective vaccine to slow the progression of the virus. The race to find the compound has led to a peculiar situation in which new versions keep appearing, distributed in different ways around the world. At the time of writing, the main vaccines are:

Click on the name of the vaccines to see their place of origin and the countries that are using it.

Comirnaty / Pfizer-BioNTech

  • NAME:

    BNT162b2

  • TYPE:

    mRNA

  • DOSE:

    2 doses, 21 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    74

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Pain in the area of the shot, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Pfizer, Inc. and BioNTech

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has shown 95% efficacy in preventing cases of COVID-19.

    The data has been laboratory confirmed in people without previous evidence of infection.

    An interim analysis of the study has already shown potential efficacy of more than 90% one week after the second dose.

Moderna

  • NAME:

    mRNA-1273

  • TYPE:

    mRNA

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 28 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    33

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Pain in the area of the shot, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and chills.

  • MANUFACTURER:

    ModernaTX, Inc., NIAID, BARDA, CEPI

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    The Moderna vaccine has shown an overall efficacy of 94% in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses.

    It can also be offered to people aged 65+, among whom it is 86% effective.

    This vaccine has the added benefit of being able to be stored at -20°C (-4°F), so it may be stored in a conventional freezer.

Covishield / Oxford-AstraZeneca

  • NAME:

    AZD1222

  • TYPE:

    Viral vector

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 8–12 weeks apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    61

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Fatigue, chills, headache, joint or muscle pain

  • MANUFACTURER:

    University of Oxford, AstraZeneca, CEPI

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    The efficacy of the drug developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is estimated to be 60–90%.

    Furthermore, it can be stored between 2–8°C (35–46°F), so there is no need to deploy any special logistics devices for its preservation and distribution, which has obvious benefits.

Sputnik V

  • NAME:

    GAM-COVID-Vac

  • TYPE:

    Viral vector

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 21 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    16

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Tiredness, nausea, headache, muscle pain, fever

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Gamaleya Institute

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    The Gamaleya Institute has announced that Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 92%, although it has not yet published a scientific paper revealing all the details of the clinical trial.

    An interim analysis of the trial has been published in the British medical publication The Lancet, which verifies the efficacy and the absence of any unusual side effects.

Johnson & Johnson

  • NAME:

    JNJ-78436735

  • TYPE:

    Viral vector

  • DOSE:

    One shot

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    4

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Pain in the area of the shot, headache, muscle pain, fatigue

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Johnson & Johnson), BIDMC

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    What differentiates this vaccine from its competitors is that it is administered as a single dose, which saves both time and money and is key in the current time.

    In addition, it can remain stable at 2–8°C (35–46°F) for 3 months.

    In clinical trials it has reported an efficacy of 66%, and this is slightly higher in people aged 65+.

Convidicea

  • NAME:

    Ad5-nCoV

  • TYPE:

    Viral vector

  • DOSE:

    One shot

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular, nasal spray

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    3

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Pain in the area of the shot, headache, fever, fatigue.

  • MANUFACTURER:

    CanSino Biologics, Institute of Biotechnology, Beijing

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    Global data from phase III trials has shown that the CanSino vaccine is 65% effective at preventing COVID-19.

    In addition to its efficacy, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine it is given as a single dose and can be stored at 6–8°C (42–46°F).

    CanSino has also started trials to administer Ad5-nCoV in the form of a nasal spray.

Sinopharm

  • NAME:

    BBIBP-CorV

  • TYPE:

    Inactivated virus

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 21–28 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    24

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Tiredness, nausea, headache, muscle pain, fever

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Sinopharm: Beijing Institute of Biological Products, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    With 79% efficacy, the Sinopharm vaccine is able to maintain its properties for 24 months at 2–8°C (35–46°F), the temperature of a standard refrigerator.

    This makes it more accessible than other compounds that require special treatment and much lower temperatures in the cold chain.

CoronaVac

  • NAME:

    CoronaVac

  • TYPE:

    Inactivated virus

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 14 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    16

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Pain in the area of the shot, headache

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Sinovac Biotech

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    The most noteworthy aspect of CoronaVac is its long period of stability—it can be stored for up to three years in the right conditions, inside ordinary refrigerators at 2–8°C (35–46°F).

    Moreover, it can withstand 42 days at temperatures up to 25°C, making it a good candidate for countries with less effective cold chain infrastructure.

    Its overall efficacy is 50%.

Covaxin

  • NAME:

    BBV152

  • TYPE:

    Inactivated virus

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 28 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    3

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    Stiffness and weakness in the injected arm, muscle aches, headache, fever

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Bharat Biotech International Limited, Indian Council of Medical Research

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    Covaxin does not need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures; it comes in liquid form and is manufactured for use in multi-dose vials. It remains stable between 2–8°C (35–46°F).

    It has shown efficacy of up to 81% and, according to preliminary studies, has proven to be effective against the British variant of COVID-19 (VUI-202012/01 or B.1.1.7 to use its scientific name).

EpiVacCorona

  • NAME:

    EpiVacCorona

  • TYPE:

    Protein subunit

  • DOSE:

    2 shots, 21–28 days apart

  • ADMINISTRATION ROUTE:

    Intramuscular

  • COUNTRIES IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED:

    2

  • COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:

    None reported

  • MANUFACTURER:

    Vector Institute

  • INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE:

    Although the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) has declared that EpiVacCorona is 100% effective, currently nothing has been published to support this.

    It is expected that more accurate results on its effects will be published from May 2021.

Types of vaccine

mRNA vaccines

They use genetically modified RNA or DNA to create a protein that triggers an immune response.

Protein subunit vaccines

They contain parts of proteins or protein structures that are harmless but mimic the behavior of SARS-CoV-2, thus generating immunity.

Viral vector vaccines

The immune reaction occurs when coronavirus proteins develop from a genetically altered virus that does not cause the illness.

Inactivated virus vaccines

They work through an inactivated or live-attenuated virus that is not able to infect the person but is capable of triggering an immune response.

Diseases alleviated
through vaccination

The history of vaccination is long. So much so that, although we know vaccination to have come to light in the 18th century through the work of Edward Jenner, there are indications that its roots can be traced back to 200 BC. The benefits provided by this method are impossible to measure.

With the exception of access to potable water, there is no human intervention capable of competing with immunization as a means of containing disease and reducing mortality. The scientific community is still working to hunt for new vaccines.

VACCINES PREVENT 60 DEATHS PER HOUR WORLDWIDE

60/h

Source: OMS

They have to meet the highest quality product standards. All vaccines currently in use have undergone extensive and rigorous verification processes through constant monitoring to confirm their validity and safety.

IMMUNIZATION PREVENTS NEARLY 3 MILLION DEATHS A YEAR WORLDWIDE

Data on children under five years old.

Data on children under five years old. Source: Farmaindustria

What is
herd immunity?

In biostatistics, the concept of herd immunity refers to the point at which enough people in a community are protected against a disease that the spread of the disease is halted. This protection comes either from immunity due to already having had the disease or from being immunized with a vaccine. The number of people required to achieve herd immunity varies depending on the disease in question.

In the case of COVID-19, experts do not yet know what percentage of people must be vaccinated to achieve this collective immunity, but we will soon find out.

  • Healthy and non-immune people

    Healthy and non-immune people

  • Healthy and immune people

    Healthy and immune people

  • People infected with COVID-19

    People infected with COVID-19

  • Successful transmission

    Successful transmission

  • Unsuccessful transmission

    Unsuccessful transmission

Initial scenario

1

When no one is immunized

2

When some people are immunized

3

When most people are immunized

Mutation, variant and strain

Mutation

Mutation

These are subtle genetic changes that alter the characteristics of the virus, although in essence the virus remains the same. Mutations occur during virus reproduction or in the body of infected persons. The original vaccine can fight mutations.

Variant

Variant

When the virus undergoes major alterations or numerous mutations. The genetic characteristics of the virus have considerably changed, but its behavior remains the same. The original vaccine still works.

Strains

Strains

Once the virus has gone through numerous variations or mutations, there comes a time when it is difficult to match it with its origin. The characteristics of the virus have completely changed; it is almost a new virus. In these cases, the original vaccine is useful, but its effectiveness is reduced by almost half.

10 questions we keep asking ourselves

José Antonio
Navarro Alonso
Doctor and member of the Central European Vaccination Advisory Group and the AEMPS (Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices) vaccine group. Expert in vaccines at the EMA (European Medicines Agency).

José Antonio Navarro Alonso

1

After I get vaccinated, will I still need to wear a mask and maintain social distancing? Is there a danger that I could transmit the virus?

Until complete information is available on how vaccines affect asymptomatic infection and virus transmission, as well as their role in combating new variants, you are advised to continue to take mitigation measures.

2

Can I get vaccinated if I am pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant?

Clinical trials did not include pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. However, if a pregnant woman is at risk of being exposed to the virus, she may be vaccinated if she has given her prior informed consent and consulted with her obstetrician.

For breastfeeding mothers, there are no issues in this regard. It has recently been shown that antibodies generated by the vaccine in pregnant women are passed on to the baby, just as they are through breast milk.

3

How do I know that the vaccine is completely safe?

This depends on what you mean by "safe." Is there anything in life that's 100 percent safe? No one can guarantee that there is zero risk. What can be guaranteed, following clinical trials and post-market monitoring of tens of millions of administered doses, is that the vaccine meets the highest possible safety standards.

4

How effective is the vaccine? How long does COVID-19 immunity last?

This requires us to specify what we're measuring immunity against: Mild, moderate or severe illness, hospital admission, ICU, death, asymptomatic infection…In each of these cases, the relevant figures generally exceed 90 percent.

5

What are the main side effects?

The same side effects that are typical of any other vaccine. Localized pain, discomfort, chills, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes…all self-limiting symptoms.

6

Can people being treated with immunosuppressants such as chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies or glucocorticoids be vaccinated?

For ethical reasons, clinical trials do not include people with high levels of immunosuppression. A risk/benefit analysis may be employed to evaluate vaccination on a case-by-case basis.

7

8

Do I have to get vaccinated if I have had the illness?

Given that not everyone who has had the illness develops antibodies and the fact that we don't know how long antibodies last or the relationship between antibody concentration levels and clinical protection, yes, it is necessary to get vaccinated.

9

How exactly does the vaccine work?

By stimulating the immune system so that it produces antibodies in response to the presence of a foreign substance (antigen) that is capable of causing the illness and that is injected into the human or animal we want to protect, without infecting them.

10

Why should I get the vaccine?

For many reasons: To avoid suffering from the illness and transmitting the virus to society and vulnerable families, to put an end to this horrible nightmare, to stimulate the economy and regain our social lives, to give health-care workers a break, to be able to travel…Need we say more?

Vaccine myths

The rapid development of the different vaccines that are currently available has been accompanied by all kinds of information. Here, we'll clear up some misconceptions..

The vaccine modifies the genetic material of people who receive it

There is no DNA of any kind in any of the vaccines. RNA-based vaccines do not enter the cell nucleus, where our DNA is located. They are unable to modify the DNA of a cell. Vaccines do not change us in any way, except to give us immunity.

It's best to wait and see what happens with the side effects

The possibility that we could become infected with the virus, passing it on to those around us, getting sick and developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or even dying, far exceeds any possible side effects of the vaccine.

Vaccines have no effect on new variants

Although the effectiveness of approved vaccines may decrease slightly as it relates to new variants, it should be noted that some of the vaccines are up to 95 percent effective, whereas the annual flu vaccine, for example, is only 40 to 60 percent effective. That's in a good year.

It's impossible to develop safe vaccines in such a short period of time

The vaccines being used against COVID-19 have been subjected to rigorous clinical trials involving thousands of people, following initial testing on animals. The results have shown that they are safe and effective, and the data is reviewed on an ongoing basis.

You can get COVID-19 through the vaccine

The vaccines that are currently available do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. It is necessary to keep in mind, however, that it takes a few weeks for the body to generate immunity after receiving the vaccine, so it is possible to become infected just before or just after the vaccine is administered. Or, far less likely, between doses.

Coronavirus vaccines affect fertility

This myth originated due to the fact that a small sequence of amino acids that make up one of the proteins in SARS-CoV-2 is also found in syncytin, a protein present in the placenta. However, the similarity is too short to trigger a reaction that would lead to infertility.

I am a young, healthy person — I don't need to get a vaccine

COVID-19 remains highly unpredictable, and just because someone is young and healthy doesn't mean that they won't suffer any complications. There is still no way to know whether the illness will be mild or severe, so it is far more prudent to be exposed to the vaccine than to the virus.

Vaccines contain microchips and control devices

This belief gained momentum when Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, talked about creating digital certificates of vaccine records. The technology that he was referring to has nothing to do with microchips. What's more, microchips are not involved in any stage of the vaccine.

We consulted the following sources when writing this special feature: The story of the vaccines, BBC, Medical News Today, The Conversation, Mayo Clinic, Cedars Sinai, Sputnik V, Cinco Días, OMS, The New York Times, Healthy Children, IS Global, Oxford Vaccine Trial.

For more information, go to vacunacovid.gob.es or the WHO website.

MAPFRE and COVID-19

MAPFRE's priority since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak has been protecting the health of its employees, clients and collaborators. This has been the case from that moment forward and will be into the future. That's why MAPFRE has implemented all necessary measures.

Speed up vaccination

Acelerar la vacunación

Clients and providers

115 million euros

Donated to support SME employment and the self-employed in Spain.

60 million euros

In discounts on insurance policies, representing the value of insurance premiums that covered professional activity during the State of Emergency period.

55 million euros

In advances to our providers that were forced to stop or slow their work due to the pandemic.

Employees and collaborators

In order to ensure the safety of employees and collaborators, nearly all of them have been working remotely.

MAPFRE has not furloughed any employees, either at the company or the foundation.

Empleados y colaboradores

Society

Because MAPFRE's commitment goes further, the company has made all SAVIA digital services available to both clients and non-clients, free of charge. This includes the availability of complete care from medical professionals through different remote channels. Chat, video consultation, email, phone.

MAPFRE also believed that COVID-19 research needed to be accelerated, so the company donated 5 million euros to the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council).

In addition, the company has extended its support to other countries, facilitating the provision of medical supplies, food and personnel to assist disadvantaged sectors.

EE.UU.

In the USA, MAPFRE guaranteed the safety and financial burdens of its clients

México

In Mexico, MAPFRE acted as an agent of change

Brasil

In Brazil, MAPFRE strengthened all its channels

Manaos

Supporting the delivery of respirators to Manaos, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas

Peru

Donating funds to Peru for the acquisition of ventilators and oxygen

Ecuador

Offering new protective supplies, ozone sterilization equipment and biosafety suits to Ecuador

Mexico

Providing telephone support and donating 1 million euros to vulnerable populations in Mexico

Colombia

Collaborating in the construction of a field hospital in Colombia

You can find more news stories in our Zoom section on mapfre.com