The differences between the Pfizer, AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines

Leah Panapa 11/11/2021

LISTEN: The Government has announced it will roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine for a minority of people who are unable to get the Pfizer vaccine.

From late November the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available for those aged 18 or over who for medical reasons can't get the Pfizer jab. The Ministry of Health believes this group to be as small as 100 or 200 people.

AstraZeneca's vaccine will also be made available to those who prefer not to have a vaccine using mRNA technology if their job requires them to be vaccinated.

However, the vaccine programme will mostly stay focused on Pfizer, the Government said.

Professor Peter McIntyre, who is a medical advisor for the Immunisation Advisory Centre, explains to Magic Talk what the major differences are between the two vaccines.

"Pfizer uses one way of getting the code to allow you to generate anti-bodies to be protected against COVID by sneaking in the code into your cell via a kind of fatty envelope that gets through the cell that way," he said.

But Prof McIntyre says it does not alter your DNA.

"It's not changing your DNA. It's what's called Messenger RNA in the Pfizer vaccine which is the thing your DNA produces to give the code that makes the protein.

"The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a different way of doing that. It basically tags it along with a common cold virus," he told Magic Talk. The virus then takes the code into your cell.

Prof McIntyre says both vaccines use different ways of achieving the same thing.

Some unvaccinated people oppose mRNA technology and have refused to get the Pfizer vaccine for this reason. The AstraZeneca vaccine will allow this minority of people to get vaccinated.

Listen to the full interview with Peter McIntyre above.

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