Health Watch

Pfizer? Moderna? For the COVID-19 vaccine, does it matter?

The COVID pandemic has pushed the limits of science in terms of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this evolving virus.

Vaccine development is usually a very long process with 10-15 years of research and trials before approval is granted. In this unprecedented time, the rapid advancement to emergency use approval of COVID-19 vaccines has provided hope that an end to the pandemic may be in sight. The two currently approved for use in the United States are manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

Pfizer? Moderna? For the COVID-19 vaccine, does it matter?Pfizer, Inc., based in New York City, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. On December 11, 2020, Pfizer, in conjunction with German-based BioNTech, became the first company to win emergency use authorization in the U.S. for its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is administered in two doses 21 days apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech is about 95% effective at preventing COVID-19. No serious side effects are widely associated with the vaccine, and it is shown to be safe to those 16 years of age and older. The Pfizer vaccine has stringent storage requirements, as vaccines must be kept in an ultra-low temperature freezer between -80ºC to -60ºC (-112ºF to -76ºF). Pfizer had shipped over 65 million doses of the vaccine by the end of January 2021.

Moderna, Inc. is a small Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company that won emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine on December 18, 2020. Like the Pfizer vaccine, it requires two doses, but these are administered 28 days apart. Moderna’s vaccine was shown to be 94% effective during clinical trials. Storage requirements are less cumbersome, only requiring a freezer between -25°C and -15°C (-13°F and 5°F). Moderna had shipped just over 10 million doses by the end of January 2021.

As both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, either are recommended to prevent COVID-19 infection. Which kind you get may simply be determined by where you live, as different states and healthcare systems will receive vaccines from the company they have contracted with as they become available. In the coming months, vaccines from other companies such as Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson may also be approved for emergency use.

As always, it is important to follow the advice of the CDC and your healthcare professional. Those in charge of vaccine distribution ask for the public’s patience during the role out phase. Remember that your health is important to use here at Watson Imaging Center. We take the most stringent precautions and have your health and safety as our top priority. For your imaging needs, Watson Imaging is here to help.

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