The COVID-19 Vaccine: Pfizer Vaccine vs. Moderna Vaccine

Pfizer Vaccine vs. Moderna Vaccine for COVID-19

On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the emergency go-ahead for a second COVID-19 vaccine—developed by Moderna—to be provided to Americans across the country. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use the same basic technology, known as mRNA. Essentially, these vaccines teach your cells how to make protein that prompts an immune response without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. We will discuss the Pfizer vaccine vs. Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.

Pfizer Vaccine vs. Moderna Vaccine for COVID-19

Pfizer Vaccine vs. Moderna Vaccine
Pfizer Moderna
95% effective 94.5% effective
5 dose vials 10 dose vials
Must be diluted with 0.9% sodium chloride No dilution required
Stored at -112 to -76°F Stored at -13 to -5°F
36,621 trial participants 30,350 trial participants
Approved for use in people over the age of 16 Approved for use in people over the age of 18
Published safety and final efficacy results from Phase 3 on December 10th, 2020 Announced primary efficacy analysis is Phase 3 on November 30, 2020

Both Are mRNA Vaccines

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach your cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein”. The spike protein is on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

These vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the mRNA is inside the muscle cells, the cells make the protein piece. After the making of the protein piece, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.

Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Your immune system recognizes that the protein does not belong there and begins making antibodies.

After developing antibodies, your immune system has learned how to protect against future infection.

One benefit of mRNA vaccines is that those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.

Facts about COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

They cannot give someone COVID-19.

  • mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

They do not affect or interact with your DNA in any way.

  • mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where your DNA (genetic material) is kept.
  • The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

mRNA Technology

The technology for mRNA was discovered over 30 years ago and has been studied for vaccine purposes for nearly two decades.

In fact, scientists have been working on a coronavirus vaccine since the SARS and MERS outbreaks until funding dried up.

Early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for the following:

  • influenza
  • Zika
  • rabies
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Recent technological advancements in RNA biology and chemistry, as well as delivery systems, have mitigated these challenges and improved their stability, safety and effectiveness.

Ingredients in the Vaccine

There has been complete transparency around ingredients. You can find the fact sheet posted online and in the references listed below.


  • Lipids (including ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol)
  • Potassium chloride
  • Monobasic potassium phosphate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Dibasic sodium phosphate dehydrate
  • Sucrose

NOTE: There is NO aluminum, mercury or food allergens.

Side Effects/Immune Response

The most common reported side effects include the following:

  • Injection site reaction
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

This is called an “immune response”. It is a response without infection and it is a good thing!

These short-term, easy to manage side effects are significantly less risky than taking your chances with COVID-19 infection.

99% Survival Rate

A commonly asked question is “Why should I get vaccinated if the COVID-19 infection has a 99% survival rate?”

Surviving and thriving are incredibly different.

COVID-19 symptoms can persist for months. The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain. This can increase the risk of long-term health problems. Even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection.

How organs may be affected by COVID-19:

  • Heart: Imaging tests taken months after recovery from COVID-19 have shown lasting damage to the heart muscle, even in people who experienced only mild COVID-19 symptoms. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.
  • Lungs: The type of pneumonia associated with COVID-19 can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.
  • Brain: Even in young people, COVID-19 can cause strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis. COVID-19 may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The vaccine benefits outweigh the known risks of contracting COVID-19.

When the vaccine reaches your group, please get the vaccine. The sooner we vaccinate and establish herd immunity the sooner we can remove our masks and hug our friends again.




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