COVID-19 vaccine information

For information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit COVID-19 key resources.

The Green Book: Immunisation against infectious disease, Public Health England/Department of Health. Chapter 14a COVID-19 – SARS-Cov-2

The roles of the MHRA and JCVI in COVID-19 vaccines. Public Health England explain the role of the  Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) in vaccines approval.

Evidence Summaries

UpToDate: a good general summary of the current state of knowledge on vaccines, regularly updated. COVID-19 resources on UpToDate are freely available during the pandemic.

BMJ Best Practice. See Prevention: Vaccines section [NHS OpenAthens password required]

Information for patients

Full Fact [an independent and impartial fact checking charity] on COVID-19 vaccines: COVID-19 vaccination

Oxford Vaccine Project: [a source of independent information about vaccines and infectious diseases] [general information on vaccination]: Why vaccination is safe and important

Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162b2

Polack FP, Thomas SJ, Kitchin N, et al. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine [published online ahead of print, 2020 Dec 10]. N Engl J Med. 2020;10.1056/NEJMoa2034577. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2034577

Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162b2 was approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 2nd December 2020 after a rigorous rolling review of the data. The trial results were published on 19th December. The trial, in which 43,448 people in 152 centres in 6 countries across the world received the BNT162b2 vaccine or placebo, found a two-dose regimen given 21 days apart to be safe and 95% effective against Covid-19.

University of Oxford & AstraZeneca vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19)

The AstraZeneca US Phase III trial of AZD1222 demonstrated statistically significant vaccine efficacy of 79% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% efficacy at preventing severe disease and hospitalisation. This interim safety and efficacy analysis was based on 32,449 participants accruing 141 symptomatic cases of COVID-19. The trial had a 2:1 randomisation of vaccine to placebo. Vaccine efficacy was consistent across ethnicity and age. Notably, in participants aged 65 years and over, vaccine efficacy was 80%.

Voysey M, Clemens SAC, Madhi S et al. Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK [published online, 8 December 2020]. Lancet. 2020.

Ramasamy MN, Minassian AM, Ewer KJ, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine administered in a prime-boost regimen in young and old adults (COV002): a single-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 2/3 trial [published online ahead of print, 2020 Nov 18]. Lancet. 2020;S0140-6736(20)32466-1. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32466-1

The authors conclude:

“…the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine was safe and well tolerated with a lower reactogenicity profile in older adults than in younger adults. Immunogenicity was similar across age groups after a boost vaccination. If these responses correlate with protection in humans, these findings are encouraging because older individuals are at disproportionate risk of severe COVID-19 and so any vaccine adopted for use against SARS-CoV-2 must be effective in older adults.”

“…Most of the reported local and systemic adverse events were mild to moderate in severity…. The serious adverse events observed during the trial in these study groups were judged to be unrelated to the study vaccines and occurred at frequencies expected for these conditions in the general population.”

The Moderna and US National Institutes of Health vaccine (mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2)

Baden LR, El Sahly HM, Essink B, et al. Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine [published online ahead of print, 2020 Dec 30]. The New England journal of medicine, 2021; 384:403-416; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2035389

The Moderna and US National Institutes of Health mRNA-1273 vaccine, now approved by MHRA, has completed multi-centre Phase III trials and was found to have an efficacy rate of 94.1%. Apart from the usual transient local and systemic reactions, the trial identified no safety concerns.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. (Ad26.COV2.S)

Sadoff, Jerald et al. “Safety and Efficacy of Single-Dose Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine against Covid-19” [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 21]. The New England journal of medicine, DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa2101544

In an international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, efficacy against moderate to severe–critical Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days after administration was 66.9% and 28 days after administration 66.1%. Efficacy against severe–critical Covid-19 was 76.7% for onset at ≥14 days and 85.4% for onset at ≥28 days. Against South African variant vaccine efficacy was 52.0% and 64.0% against moderate to severe–critical Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days and at least 28 days after administration, and against severe–critical Covid-19 73.1% and 81.7%, respectively.

Other vaccines

Other vaccines in Phase III trials and being considered for use in the UK are those produced by Novavax and GSK-Sanofi. A seventh, produced by Valneva, is in pre-clinical trials.

Novavax, Inc. (NVX-CoV2373)

U.S. clinical trial results show Novavax vaccine is safe and prevents COVID-19

Paul T. Heath et al. “Efficacy of the NVX-CoV2373 Covid-19 Vaccine Against the B.1.1.7 Variant” medRxiv 2021.05.13.21256639; NOTE: This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

For more detailed evidence updates on all aspects of COVID-19, see our KnowledgeShare pages on COVID-19 (no authentication required) and our page of COVID-19 resources.

We monitor the information on vaccine trials daily, and this page is updated when new evidence is published.