VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the spread of shots against COVID-19 continues to grow in BC, avoid the so-called “vaccine shopping”.
Despite varying rates of effectiveness, the head of the association that represents doctors, residents and medical students in BC reminds people that all four vaccines available are very similar when it comes to preventing serious illness and death.
“Yes, I absolutely hear about vaccine buying,” said Dr. Matthew Chow, President of Doctors from BCsaid NEWS 1130.
He says even his own parents had questions about vaccines and their effectiveness.
“Bottom line: your question to me was whether they should wait or wait for a different vaccine than the one they were offered,” he explained.
Related article: BC residents aged 85 and over can book the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday
Chow says he told his parents the same thing he told everyone else: the best vaccine is the one you are offered first.
“My straight answer to her is, ‘No, you shouldn’t wait,'” he said.
He suggests a reason why the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are more effective than those made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, possibly because the first two vaccines were tested when the variants of concern were not as common.
“If we had actually tested all four of these vaccines under exactly the same conditions – at exactly the same time with exactly the same prevalence of these worrying variants – I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the level of protection is pretty similar.” he explained.
He believes some of the hesitation is due to how vaccine evaluation data is reported.
“I think that’s exactly how science works: these vaccines are studied and an efficacy rate – how effective these vaccines are – is given. This is used by regulators like Health Canada to determine if a vaccine is safe and if it is worth approving use in Canada to end this pandemic, ”Chow told NEWS 1130.
However, he notes that when you report a range of data, some of the nuance is lost.
Chow assures everyone that there are public health officials who carefully examine data on vaccines, how they work, and how they affect people.
He says global data “looks very promising right now”.
“And so, even with my own parents, even with my own family, I recommend which vaccine they are offered first, get it,” Chow said.
– With files from Yasmin Gandham