There is less time left for the coronavirus vaccine to reach Europe and that means Spain will be able to start vaccinating its population in January, according to health plans.
The European Medicines Agency assured this week that Pfizer could be available in European Union countries before January 1.
The EMA has already started the evaluation of this vaccine and that of Moderna and announced that “if the efficacy and safety data are sufficient”, the compounds could be authorized for their use and distribution on the 29th and 12th. December. January, respectively.
Spain will have 10% of the total, or 140 million vaccines. Considering the fact that for a complete vaccination two injections are necessary, with the commitment the 47 million Spaniards could be inoculated with excessive doses.
Who will be the first to arrive?
At the moment, it is not known which vaccine against the coronavirus will be the first to be used in Spain. For now, Pfizer – which has already gotten the go-ahead from the UK – Moderna and Astrazeneca, also known as the Oxford Vaccine, appear to be in the best positions, not only because of the advancement of their research, but also because of the excellent results they obtained. reached so far.
However, and despite the commitment to doses, these will not happen all at once. Pfizer predicts it can manufacture 50 million doses (to immunize 25 million people) this year, 1.3 billion next year. For its part, Moderna plans to manufacture 20 million doses by the end of the year, and between 500 and 1,000 million in 2021.
Pfizer: before the end of 2020 Modern. Early 2021.Oxford-Astrazeneca: The company estimates it will have $ 200 million this year.
How many doses will reach our country?
– Pfizer and BioNTech: Spain has finalized the acquisition of more than 20 million vaccines: “Spain joins the centralized purchase agreed by the European Commission (EC) on November 11 of 200 million doses”, according to a press release published for health.
– AstraZeneca-Oxford: It estimates it will have 200 million doses by the end of the year, with 700 million doses ready by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Spain has 30 million.
– Modern: as established in the agreement between this company and the European Commission, Spain has 8 million initial doses per population, also distributed throughout 2021.
. Janssen (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson): the agreement between Janssen and the Commission provides for 20 million vaccines for Spain, which are expected to be distributed throughout 2021. The phase 3 trial of the Janssen vaccine will also be carried out in Spain in nine hospitals.
– CureVac. The European Commission has also purchased 225 million doses, of which 23 million correspond to Spain, distributed, in principle, from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022.
Health Minister Salvador Illa has already announced that Spain’s intention is to buy more doses of the vaccine than the country needs to “be safe”. “We will buy the whole lot to make sure we have the first vaccines and all the technologies and, if any are left, in an exercise of solidarity, we will provide them to countries that may need them,” Illa said on the week. last.
Health predicts that between May and June 15 million Spaniards will have been vaccinated
In any case, as the Minister of Health himself put it last week, in the first phase of vaccination (between January and March), there will be vaccines available in Spain only for 2.5 millions of people. And as Illa reported on Friday, between May and June 2021 between 15 and 20 million people are expected to have been vaccinated.
Which is the most effective? How will they be distributed?
Efficiency: 95% Conservation: below -70 degrees
Pharmaceutical Pfizer was the first to report efficacy data above 90% earlier this month. After completing its Phase 3 trial, the company reported that its vaccine was 95% effective.
It works, like the one developed by the American pharmaceutical company Moderna, with a technology based on messenger RNA, which until now had not been used in humans. This would allow an immune response to be generated without the need to inoculate the patient with pathogens.
Its distribution poses certain difficulties because it must be stored at a very low temperature, below -70 degrees Celsius. In fact, the WHO recently warned that no country currently has the necessary infrastructure for storage. Faced with these logistical difficulties, Pfizer launched a pilot program for its ultra-cold distribution.
Efficiency: 94.5% Conservation: below -20 degrees
Biotech company Moderna has announced 94.5% efficacy of its coronavirus vaccine. Like Pfizer’s, this vaccine does not use inactivated or weakened versions of a virus, but rather messenger RNA: a genetic code that causes the generation of a protein to trigger the creation of antibodies.
When it comes to the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna’s has the logistical advantage that, although it must be stored at low temperature, it does not have to be in such extreme cold conditions: it can be stored at 20 degrees below zero. , in a freezer.
Efficiency: 70% on average, up to 90% Storage: between 2 and 8 degrees
The vaccine developed by Oxford works differently. It is based on a genetically modified cold adenovirus and has a significant logistical advantage over its competitors: it can be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8 degrees, which can be reached in a home refrigerator.
AstraZeneca and the aforementioned UK university reported that their vaccine had, on average, an efficacy of 70.4% by combining preliminary data from two different administration schedules: one of them, however, showed efficacy ranging up to 90%. . Another encouraging figure is that the most effective regimen uses one and a half doses of the vaccine instead of two, which could be used to immunize more people.
How much will they cost?
The PGE project for 2021 contemplates a € 1,011 million item for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines, although they could be expanded as extraordinary expenses. Most of this money comes from reconstruction funds, and not all will be used to purchase doses, but also to keep them.
According to a price estimate, a dose of the Pfizer vaccine would cost 16.50 euros; that of AstraZeneca, 3 euros; that of Sanofi, 10 euros; and Janssen’s would be sold at cost.
Will it be compulsory?
Salvador Illa, in principle, dismisses it: “Experts tell us that it is not advisable to decree the compulsory nature of the vaccine”, he assured this week in the Senate, betting on “the truth” for that society undertakes to be vaccinated.
According to the CIS barometer published on December 4, a third of respondents are ready to be vaccinated as soon as possible and, although the majority (55.2%) prefer to know its effects before being exhausted for the vaccination, among them 59.6% would do so immediately if recommended by their doctor because of their medical history or because of the risk of infecting a family member. At the other extreme, 16.7% of the people questioned affirmed that they would not be vaccinated “in any case”, even if the doctor had advised them.
The Spanish vaccine
Spain has also joined the race for an effective vaccine. However, cuts in science over the past decade and a lack of competitiveness in the research sector have weighed on possible advances in the development of a Spanish-branded remedy for the coronavirus.
Some of the most advanced studies, although still in a preclinical situation, are those led at the National Biotechnology Center (CNB-CSIC) by Mariano Esteban and Juan García Arriaza, on the basis of a smallpox vaccine; that of the Margarita Salas Biological Research Center, by Vicente Larraga, which uses a coronavirus antigen gene; or that of Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola, also at CSIC, who create a synthetic virus to generate immunity.
Spain is part of a Phase III vaccine study with the Janssen Project, which will begin recruiting volunteers at eight Spanish hospitals to study the efficacy of its vaccine from December and which has already been approved by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.