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Many people in Kuwait have held off from taking the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and are awaiting the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine instead. Image Credit: AFP

Kuwait City: As Kuwait began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for over two weeks, many people have held off from taking it as they await the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine, Al Rai reported.

A health source told Al Rai that experts advise people to take the vaccine available and that they will not be allowed to choose between vaccines.

The Oxford vaccine has yet to arrive in Kuwait, but health sources have pointed out that the Ministry of Health is preparing to license the emergency use of the vaccine. Once they approve it Kuwait is expected to receive 3 million doses, which are to arrive in batches.

Pfizer vs Oxford

Many people have the assumption that the Oxford vaccine is safer than the Pfizer vaccine because the former depends on the production of antibodies through the viral vector, while the later (including the Modera vaccine) adopted the RNA technology.

According to a study published in the New York Times, there are no approved RNA vaccines in the past, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be the first to use the new technology. As for the viral vector vaccine, they have been researched since the 1990s and are used to deliver general into cells to immunize people. The viral vector method has been used in the past to develop H.I.V and Ebola vaccines.

Another difference between the two is that the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored in temperatures below 70 degrees Celsius, while the Oxford vaccine can be stored between 2 to 8 degrees.

The Pfizer vaccine was given emergency use authorization in several countries a few weeks ago, compared to Oxford which recently got approved in the United Kingdom last week. Given that the Pfizer vaccine was approved faster, most countries have begun administering while awaiting approval on other vaccines.

Pfizer in Kuwait

Currently the vaccine being used in Kuwait is the Pfizer vaccine and is being administered to frontline workers, health workers, people above 65 and those with chronic illnesses. This is the first batch to arrive in Kuwait and includes 150,000 doses.

While the vaccine is being given priority to certain segments, all citizens and residents are eligible to pre-register for the vaccine. The Ministry of Health created a website that allows those wanting to take the vaccine to pre-register so that the government can indicate who should be given priority, a person’s medical history and have an estimate of how many doses they should order.