COVID-19: The difference between the four available vaccines

A Dubai top health official answered questions about the four vaccines available in the UAE at the moment.

Krystien Meyers
February 21, 2021 5:51 PM

This year four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the government for general and/or emergency use. With options come confusion over which one to choose - should it be based on technology? Which one has the most advantages?

What we can agree on is that all vaccines work by exposing the human body to particles or molecules that trigger an immune response, thus protecting the subject from future infection. The key difference between the four main types of vaccines is the method of exposure used.

Here is how each vaccine works:


The Sinopharm vaccine works by using dead viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a reaction. The vaccine stimulates the human immune system and forms antibodies to resist the Covid-19 virus.


The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine works with RNA technology. This means that part of the virus’ gene code is injected into the body, prompting it to start producing the s-protein on the shell of the virus, triggering an immune response.

Sputnik V and AstraZeneca

Both AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccine are based on a viral vector. It is placed on another virus called adenovirus, which is modified and then molecules of the emerging Covid-19 virus are added to it. The virus is considered weak but sufficient to produce antibodies.