Rosie Awori (LJI)
As spring approaches Quebec and Canada continue to roll out vaccination protocols for the populations. Currently, Quebec is giving access to priority groups, which for now are mostly those aged 60 and above who can receive the vaccinations.
However, Health Minister Christian Dubé stated on April 7, that they were looking to start an “accelerated phase” in the vaccine rollout. Starting April 12, patients with chronic diseases and essential workers who carry out their jobs in Montreal will be eligible for the vaccines.
They are two types of vaccines are currently available in Québec:
The Covid -19 messenger RNA vaccine; which includes The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved for people 16 years of age and older; and The Moderna vaccine, approved for people 18 years of age and older. As well the COVID-19 viral vector-based vaccine which includes The AstraZeneca vaccine, approved for people over 55 years, and The Serum Institute of India (SII) Covishield vaccine, is approved for people over 55 years.
Moderna was developed by a Massachusetts-based vaccine developer that partnered with the National Institutes of Health to develop mRNA-1273. Its clinical trial demonstrated that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent in preventing Covid-19.
The vaccine works by making the cells produce a protein that will trigger an immune response without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. Once triggered, the body will then make antibodies. These antibodies help fight the infection if the real virus enters the body in the future.
The vaccine uses messenger RNA, genetic material that our cells read to make proteins. The molecule — called mRNA for short — is fragile and would be chopped to pieces by our natural enzymes if it were injected directly into the body.
To protect the vaccine, Moderna wraps the mRNA in oily bubbles made of lipid nanoparticles.
After injection, the vaccine particles bump into cells and fuse to them, releasing mRNA. The cell’s molecules read its sequence and build spike proteins. The mRNA from the vaccine is eventually destroyed by the cell, leaving no permanent trace.
The German company BioNTech partnered with Pfizer to develop and test a vaccine known as BNT162b2, the generic name tozinameran or the brand name Comirnaty.
Clinical trials have demonstrated that the vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate in preventing Covid-19.
Like the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is based on the virus’s genetic instructions for building the spike protein. The vaccine teaches the cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. Once triggered, the body then makes antibodies. These antibodies help fight the infection if the real virus does enter the body in the future.
The other vaccine was AstraZeneca has been developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca. The vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222 has been shown to have an efficacy of 79% after clinical trials.
In Quebec, large shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine are allowing for a short-term acceleration in the vaccination campaign. Clinics offering the AstraZeneca vaccine without appointments to those aged 55 to 79 will be operational as of Thursday, April 8 in nearly all regions of Quebec except Bas-St-Laurent, Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean, Gaspé, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and Côte-Nord. Clinics in those regions will be operational as of Friday, April 9. The AstraZeneca vaccine will not be offered at all in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, due to variants.
On the island of Montreal, these clinics will offer the AstraZeneca vaccine without an appointment to people 55 and older beginning Thursday, April 8 at 8 a.m.:
• Bill Durnan Arena, 4988 Vézina St.
• Palais des congrès, 1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle
• Quartier International parking lot, 249 St-Antoine St. W.
• Olympic Stadium atrium, 4545 Pierre-de-Coubertin Ave.
• St-Laurent vaccination clinic, 821 Ste-Croix Ave., St-Laurent
• Dollard-des-Ormeaux Civic Centre, 12001 de Salaberry Blvd., D.D.O.
• Dollard-St-Laurent sports complex, 707 75th Ave., LaSalle
• Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Ave.
As a precautionary measure, the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be available to those under 55 until an expert evaluation is completed by the Health Ministry due to the concerns of potential development of blood clots.
However, health officials continue to stress that the benefits of that vaccine far outweigh the risk.