A Health Policy Planning and Financing Analyst, Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah has called on the government and the private sector to pursue the Pfizer vaccine.
According to him, though both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are safe, the former is comparatively more efficient than the latter.
“In terms of safety, based on evidence, there is not much to choose between the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines as both are considered safe. However, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not as efficacious as the Pfizer vaccine (95%).”
Dr. Boamah in a Facebook post also noted that the AstraZeneca vaccines have proven not to protect against the Coronavirus strain which was isolated in South Africa for which reason he will “opt for the Pfizer vaccine if he had the choice.”
“In response to questions directed at me, I am only stating my preference based on science (proven efficacy) and availability.”
“In the absence of the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not a bad option. It is a second-best approximation to my ideal COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Boamah explained.
“I strongly urge Government and the private sector to also pursue the Pfizer vaccine. The cold chain limitation is being eased favourably from the negative 70s upwards. That is good news! And there are portable cooling systems which can make it possible if we work closely with big pharma.”
“Let us also pursue compulsory licensing and parallel importation; for it is allowed under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) legal agreement between member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). After all, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian-American is the current Director-General of the WTO,” he added.
He was however quick to commend GAVI for the COVAX initiative which seeks to “vaccinate 20% of the poorest nations in the world.”
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines were made by the Serum Institute of India whereas the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer also developed the Pfizer vaccines.
Meanwhile, the distribution of the 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which arrived in the country on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, is expected to take off next week according to the Presidential Adviser on Health, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare.