With the world in the grip of the ongoing pandemic, vaccines have become the most talked-about topic lately. Two of the most popular vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, have caught the eyes of experts and individuals worldwide. While both vaccines have reported efficacy rates above 90%, many are curious about what sets them apart.
So, what’s the deal with these vaccines? Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are based on the same scientific approach- mRNA technology- which teaches cells to create a protein that triggers an immune response to the virus. But, a few crucial differences make Moderna stand out. Firstly, Moderna’s vaccine requires storage at -20°C, while Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine requires storage at a mind-boggling -70°C, which makes storage and transportation a daunting task. Secondly, Moderna’s vaccine has less strict shipping regulations, allowing it to reach rural areas or less developed countries more easily.
Though both vaccines are highly effective, it’s important to know other subtle differences to help make an informed decision. There has been confusion about whether one vaccine is significantly better than the other, but ultimately, it comes down to factors such as availability and logistical concerns. Knowing the differences and similarities can help individuals make an informed decision when the time comes to get the jab.
Mechanism of Action
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines, but they differ in their approach to delivering the mRNA into the body’s cells.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine uses lipid nanoparticles to deliver the mRNA to the cells. These nanoparticles protect the mRNA from being degraded by enzymes in the body and help it enter the cells. Once inside the cell, the mRNA instructs the cells to produce the spike protein, which is found on the surface of the coronavirus. The immune system then recognizes this protein as foreign and produces antibodies against it.
- The Moderna vaccine also uses mRNA, but it uses different lipid nanoparticles to deliver it. These nanoparticles are larger than those in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and are designed to stay in the injection site rather than spreading throughout the body. Once inside the cell, the mRNA instructs the cells to produce the spike protein, which triggers an immune response similar to that of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
- Both vaccines require two doses, given several weeks apart, to provide maximum protection.
- The mRNA in the vaccines does not alter the recipient’s DNA and eventually breaks down in the body.
Overall, both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching the body to recognize the spike protein on the coronavirus and produce antibodies against it. They differ only in the way they deliver the instructions to the cells.
Pfizer and Moderna’s Efficacy Rates
The two most widely administered COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Both vaccines were authorized for emergency use by the FDA in December 2020 and have shown to be highly effective in clinical trials. However, there are some differences in the efficacy rates between the two vaccines.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reported an efficacy rate of 95% after the second dose in clinical trials, meaning it was 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections compared to a placebo.
- The Moderna vaccine reported an efficacy rate of 94.1% after the second dose in its clinical trials.
- Both vaccines require two doses given several weeks apart for maximum protection.
While the difference in efficacy rates between the two vaccines may seem marginal, it is important to note that there were some differences in the clinical trials that could affect the effectiveness of the vaccine in the real world. For example, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was tested with 43,448 participants, while the Moderna vaccine was tested with 30,420 participants. Additionally, the trial participants differed in their demographics and risk factors for COVID-19 infection.
Despite these differences, both vaccines have shown to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections and severe illness caused by the virus. It is important to continue to follow public health guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing, even after receiving the vaccine, to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Vaccine Efficacy Against COVID-19 Variants
Another factor to consider when looking at vaccine efficacy rates is the emergence of different COVID-19 variants. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be effective against the variants discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
However, a study conducted in Israel found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was less effective against the variant first discovered in Israel, also known as the B.1.351 variant. The study found that the vaccine was only 64% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections among those vaccinated with two doses.
|Vaccine Efficacy Rates Against COVID-19 Variants||Pfizer-BioNTech||Moderna|
|B.1.1.7 (UK Variant)||95% effective after the second dose||Not specified|
|B.1.351 (South Africa Variant)||Neutralizing antibodies reduced but still effective||Neutralizing antibodies reduced but still effective|
|B.1.617.2 (India Variant)||Not specified||Not specified|
More research is needed to determine the efficacy of the vaccines against the more recent COVID-19 variants, including the B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India.
Dosage and Administration of the Vaccine
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both administered through intramuscular injection, meaning the vaccine is injected into the muscle tissue using a needle and syringe. However, there are differences in the dosage and administration of each vaccine.
- Pfizer-BioNTech: The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses administered three weeks (21 days) apart. Each dose is 0.3 mL, and the vaccine can be given to individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures between -80°C to -60°C (-112°F to -76°F), which requires specialized equipment and careful handling. Once thawed and diluted, the vaccine can be stored in a regular refrigerator for up to five days.
- Moderna: The Moderna vaccine also requires two doses, but they are administered four weeks (28 days) apart. Each dose is 0.5 mL, and the vaccine can be given to individuals 18 years of age and older. The vaccine must be stored at -20°C (-4°F), which is a standard freezer temperature, and can be kept at refrigerator temperatures for up to 30 days once thawed.
It is important to note that both vaccines are not interchangeable, meaning the first and second doses must be from the same vaccine manufacturer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals receive whichever vaccine is available to them, and not wait for a specific brand.
In addition, both vaccines have been shown to be highly effective in preventing COVID-19, and individuals should adhere to the recommended dosage and timing for the best protection and to ensure global herd immunity and the fight against COVID-19.
|Vaccine||Dosage||Interval between doses||Storage Temperature||Effective after|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||0.3 mL||3 weeks (21 days)||-80°C to -60°C (-112°F to -76°F)||2nd dose|
|Moderna||0.5 mL||4 weeks (28 days)||-20°C (-4°F)||2nd dose|
It is important to follow the current recommendations by trusted medical officials regarding COVID-19 vaccines and distribution. Get vaccinated, practice good hygiene, and continue social distancing to work towards a safer, healthier future for all.
Side Effects Comparison
While both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are showing promising results in combating COVID-19, they do have some differences in side effects. Here are some of the common side effects of both vaccines:
- Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
However, there are some differences in the severity and frequency of side effects between the two vaccines. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the Moderna vaccine tended to cause more side effects after the second dose. For example:
- 63% of Moderna vaccine recipients reported fatigue after the second dose, compared to 55% of Pfizer vaccine recipients
- 48% of Moderna vaccine recipients reported headache after the second dose, compared to 39% of Pfizer vaccine recipients
- 15% of Moderna vaccine recipients reported severe fatigue after the second dose, compared to 11% of Pfizer vaccine recipients
- 9% of Moderna vaccine recipients reported severe headache after the second dose, compared to 4% of Pfizer vaccine recipients
It’s important to note that side effects are a sign that the vaccine is working and that your immune system is responding. Also, side effects tend to be mild to moderate and go away within a few days. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions may occur, but these are very rare.
|Pain at injection site||84.1%||92.0%|
Overall, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly effective and safe, with relatively few side effects. If you have concerns about side effects, talk to your healthcare provider.
Availability and Distribution of Vaccines
One of the biggest concerns around the world right now is the availability and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Both Pfizer and Moderna have made significant contributions towards the global vaccination effort, but there are key differences between the two vaccines. Here, we’ll explore the availability and distribution of both vaccines.
- Pfizer vaccine: The Pfizer vaccine was the first vaccine to be authorized for distribution in the United States, and it has since been authorized in many other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada. However, the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine has been more complicated due to its storage requirements. The vaccine must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures (-70°C) which requires special freezers. This has made it difficult to distribute the vaccine to places without easy access to these freezers, especially rural areas.
- Moderna vaccine: The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, is able to be stored at standard freezer temperatures (-20°C), which makes it easier to distribute and store. It has also been authorized in many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, and is being used in vaccination efforts around the world.
Despite the differences in storage requirements, both vaccines are being distributed around the world as quickly as possible. In the United States, for example, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being distributed through partnerships with the federal government and various state and local health agencies. In other countries, distribution efforts are being led by national health agencies and local governments.
Here are some examples of how the vaccines are being distributed in different countries:
|Country||Pfizer distribution||Moderna distribution|
|United States||Being distributed through partnerships with the federal government and state and local health agencies||Being distributed through partnerships with the federal government and state and local health agencies|
|Canada||Being distributed through partnerships with the federal government and provincial health agencies||Being distributed through partnerships with the federal government and provincial health agencies|
|United Kingdom||Being distributed through partnerships with the National Health Service (NHS) and local governments||Being distributed through partnerships with the NHS and local governments|
|India||Being distributed through partnerships with the national government and state governments||Not yet authorized for use in India|
While challenges still exist, the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is making progress with help from partnerships between government agencies and health organizations. Both Pfizer and Moderna are playing important roles in the fight against the pandemic, and the availability and distribution of these vaccines will continue to evolve as the pandemic response moves forward.
Variants of COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is imperative to keep an eye on the emerging variants of the virus. Variants refer to the genetic changes that occur in a virus over time. These changes, or mutations, can make the virus more infectious, deadlier, or more resistant to vaccines and treatments. Vaccines continue to remain effective against emerging variants, but some variants require closer monitoring than others.
- Alpha Variant: Also known as the B.1.1.7 variant, this variant was discovered in the United Kingdom in late 2020. The alpha variant has mutations in its spike protein, which makes it more infectious and easily transmissible. Studies have suggested that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remain highly effective against the alpha variant.
- Beta Variant: Also known as the B.1.351 variant, this variant was discovered in South Africa in 2020. It has mutations that make it more resistant to vaccines and treatments. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remain effective against the beta variant, studies have shown that their efficacy may be lower compared to the original strain or the alpha variant.
- Gamma Variant: Also known as the P.1 variant, this variant was discovered in Brazil in late 2020. It shares some of the mutations found on the beta variant and is also more transmissible. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown to be effective against the gamma variant.
It is essential to monitor emerging variants since they can cause a surge in COVID-19 cases and threaten efforts to control the pandemic. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown to remain effective against most of the emerging variants, but this may change as the virus continues to mutate. Staying informed and following COVID-19 safety guidelines is crucial in the fight against the pandemic.
|Variant||Country of Origin||First Identified|
|Alpha||United Kingdom||September 2020|
|Beta||South Africa||May 2020|
Table 1: Emerging Variants of the COVID-19 Virus and Their Country of Origin and First Identified Date
Cost of the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have both been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Both vaccines require two doses to achieve maximum efficacy, but what is the difference between the cost of the two vaccines?
- The Pfizer vaccine costs $19.50 per dose, making the total cost for a two-dose regimen $39. This is the price that the US government pays for the vaccine; it is not the price that is charged to individuals who receive the vaccine. However, some healthcare providers may charge a fee for administering the vaccine.
- The Moderna vaccine costs $32-37 per dose, making the total cost for a two-dose regimen between $64 and $74. Again, this is the price that the US government pays for the vaccine, not the price that is charged to individuals who receive the vaccine.
It is worth noting that the cost of the vaccine is only one factor that contributes to the overall cost of vaccination. Other costs may include the cost of administering the vaccine, storing the vaccine, and monitoring for adverse reactions.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available at no cost to individuals in the United States. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the federal government has allocated funding to cover the cost of the vaccine for uninsured individuals, as well as individuals whose insurance does not cover the cost of vaccination.
|Vaccine||Cost per dose||Total cost for two doses|
In conclusion, the cost of the Pfizer vaccine is lower than the cost of the Moderna vaccine. However, both vaccines are available at no cost to individuals in the United States, and funding is available to cover the cost of vaccination for uninsured individuals or those whose insurance does not cover the cost.
What is the difference between Pfizer and Moderna vaccine?
1. What are the differences in the efficacy rate between Pfizer and Moderna vaccine?
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown high efficacy rates in preventing COVID-19. However, Pfizer’s vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95% while Moderna’s vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1%.
2. What are the differences in the dosage requirement between Pfizer and Moderna vaccine?
One of the differences between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is the dosage requirement. Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses spaced 21 days apart while Moderna’s vaccine requires two doses spaced 28 days apart.
3. What are the differences in the storage requirements between Pfizer and Moderna vaccine?
Another difference between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is the storage requirements. Pfizer’s vaccine requires ultra-cold storage at a temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius, while Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in a regular refrigerator at a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius.
4. What are the differences in the side effects between Pfizer and Moderna vaccine?
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar side effects, such as soreness at the injection site, fatigue, and headache. However, some studies have shown that Moderna’s vaccine may cause more severe side effects than Pfizer’s.
5. Which vaccine should I get?
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID-19, and the decision of which vaccine to get ultimately comes down to availability and personal preference.
Thanks for reading our article on the differences between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It’s important to stay informed about the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines as the situation evolves. Please continue to follow all recommended guidelines from public health officials and check back with us for more updates in the future. Stay safe and healthy!