Updated Nov 30, 2020 - Health

Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines

Illustration of a hand in a glove holding a glowing syringe

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is ramping up, with three major candidates now reporting efficacy rates of more than 90%.

Why it matters: Health experts say the world can't fully return to normal until a coronavirus vaccine is widely distributed. But each potential vaccine has its own nuances, and it's likely that multiple vaccines will be needed in order to supply enough doses for universal vaccination.

  • Some global vaccines have been approved for limited distribution, including vaccines in China and Russia that did not wait for Phase 3 results before authorization. Public health authorities warn skipping steps could pose serious risks.
  • No vaccines have been approved for full use.

Major candidates


  • Efficacy: 95%
  • Vaccine type: mRNA
  • Doses required: 2
  • Storage: Five days in a refrigerator or -70℃ for long-term storage
  • Manufacturing: Up to 50 million doses in 2020 and 1.3 billion in 2021, per Pfizer
  • Cost: $20 per dose
  • State of play: Pfizer has applied for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA.


  • Efficacy: 94.1%
  • Vaccine type: mRNA
  • Doses required: 2
  • Storage: 30 days in the refrigerator or six months at -20℃
  • Manufacturing: 20 million in 2020 and up to 1 billion in 2021, per Moderna
  • Cost: $32-37
  • State of play: Moderna said it would apply for an EUA on Nov. 30


  • Efficacy: 62% to 90%, depending on dosage (average 70.4%)
  • Vaccine type: Combination of common cold virus and coronavirus genetic material
  • Doses required: 1.5
  • Storage: Six months in the refrigerator
  • Manufacturing: Total annual capacity of 3 billion doses, per AstraZeneca
  • Cost: $3-4
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