5 Things to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

The situation around the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving constantly

The situation around the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving constantly, with new issues coming into focus as we move through the pandemic. The wealth of information can easily become overwhelming, so we’ve summarised 5 key things you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines.

1. They’re effective

New evidence from real-world data is growing regarding the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. According to recent data, the great majority of COVID-19 vaccines[1]. Another analysis has shown that they are more than 90% effective against hospitalisation for the Delta variant[2].

These findings are consistent with clinical trial results where all vaccines approved in the European Union (EU) showed very high efficacy rates and demonstrate that they’re effective not only against the original coronavirus strain, but also against  new variants of concern.

2. They meet rigorous safety standards

COVID-19 vaccines have been approved in the EU only after thorough evaluation of their safety and effectiveness in clinical trials. The COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials are among the largest ever conducted, some of them with over 40,000 participants[3] [4] – this is more than 10 times the size of an average vaccine clinical trial[5].

Rigorous safety standards are applied not only to the research phase of the COVID-19 vaccines, but also to their production. Quality controls are applied all along the manufacturing process and represent up to 70% of the manufacturing time of all vaccines[6].

The innovative research-based vaccine industry in Europe is committed to the development, manufacturing and distribution of safe, effective and high-quality vaccines against COVID-19.

3. They’re safe

Safety is the cornerstone of all vaccines, including those against COVID-19. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) uses real-world data to monitor the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines[7] – this process is called pharmacovigilance.

As more and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the real-world data about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines is growing continuously. [8]

No vaccine is 100% safe and effective, and rare side effects are always possible. However, severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines approved in the EU are extremely rare. For example, people who have had a COVID-19 vaccine are 8-10 times less likely to develop a rare form of blood clotting than people infected with COVID-19[9].

4. They help protect you and others

Vaccines are a hugely successful tool for diseases prevention, and they help control and reduce the spread of different viruses. By getting vaccinated, you protect not only yourself, but also people in your community who can’t get vaccinated[10].

Vaccination campaigns have eradicated certain diseases such as smallpox and have significantly reduced the spread of others such as measles. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can help control the disease and slowly get tour lives back to normal.

5. They’re not just for the elderly or vulnerable

No one knows how COVID-19 might affect them if they get it. There are health risks not only for the elderly and vulnerable populations, but for the young adults as well. A recent study has shown that over half of young adults with COVID-19 have symptoms 6 months after their infection[11] – what’s known as “long COVID”.

We’ll only be able to defeat COVID-19 by getting everyone who is eligible vaccinated.

[1] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2021/effectiveness-covid-19-vaccines-findings-real-world-studies
[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vaccines-highly-effective-against-hospitalisation-from-delta-variant
[3] https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04368728
[4] https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04505722
[5] https://www.fda.gov/patients/drug-development-process/step-3-clinical-research
[6] https://www.vaccineseurope.eu/…/A4-VE-Infographic-Manufacturing-24062020.pdf
[7] https://www.ema.europa.eu/…/monitoring-covid-19-medicines-0
[8] https://www.ema.europa.eu/…/pharmacovigilance-plan-eu-regulatory-network-covid-19-vaccines_en.pdf
[9] https://osf.io/a9jdq/
[10] https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-do-vaccines-work
[11] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01433-3