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COVID-19 Vaccines: A Comparison

The moment we’ve all been waiting for… the COVID-19 vaccine has finally been released! Even more surprising, not only has one vaccine been approved and released, but rather two. These incredible vaccines go by the names of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. Both have been available to Americans since December and are considered mRNA vaccines.

What Are Their Similarities?

Pfizer and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines. What does that mean exactly? Well to put it in simpler terms, they both use messenger RNA which tells cells to produce a protein on the surface of the virus. The immune system in turn, recognizes the vaccine-spike proteins as pathogens and produces antibodies to block future attacks of the virus causing COVID-19. Another thing that both vaccines have in common is that they were both developed in the United States and require two doses for maximum effectiveness and protection from COVID-19.

How Are They Different?

Even though Pfizer and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines, there are quite a few differences between them. For instance, the Moderna vaccine’s pricing is $15 while Pfizer’s is $20. It is no wonder then that these vaccines have mostly been purchased by high-income countries like the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Further, Moderna can be stored in a refrigerator for a whole month, does not need to be diluted, and needs to be kept frozen for longer-term storage. Pfizer on the other hand, must be mixed prior to being used, maybe stored at -13 to 5 degrees Ferenheit for up to 2 weeks, longer storage must be at -112 to -76 degrees Ferenheit.

Safety and Side Effects

Unfortunately, there may be some side effects Unfortunately, there may be some side effects associated with Moderna and Pfizer however adverse or allergic reactions to these vaccines are rare. Some mild to moderate side effects seen in clinical trials ranged from pain at the injection site, aching muscles and joints, and/or fatigue. Before getting vaccinated, it would be wise to inform a healthcare professional if one has an allergy to any of the vaccines ingredients. Individuals with a history of severe allergic reactions and/or anaphylaxis should also consult their physician before receiving their COVID-19 vaccine.

Can Some Vaccines Work Better Than Others?

There has been a lot of controversy whether some vaccines are more effective against the Coronavirus than others. Many health care experts claim that all vaccines are effective, however since trials were conducted at different times, it isdifficult to estimate their effectiveness figures. However in one specific large-scale trial for Pfizer, the vaccine was shown to prevent about 95% of symptomatic COVID-19, one percent more than the Moderna vaccine. This trial contributed to many believing the Pfizer vaccine to be more effective against COVID than Moderna. Additionally, studies conducted also showed both vaccines to be equally protective across all ethnic and racial groups.

Things to Keep in Mind

Even though the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been released and distributed to the public, it is still unclear as to how long they will continue to protect individuals. Due to this, companies will continue following volunteers for 2 years further testing the vaccines and if their immunity beings to wave. It has even been said that periodic booster shots will be given to extend immunity and protect against new variants of the virus.