A tale of two COVID-19 vaccines: What is the difference between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's doses?
The Canadian Public Health Department has already started using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to immunize people against COVID-19, and thousands of doses of Moderna are expected to arrive in Canada within a few weeks.
The two vaccines have shown the best results and have passed the usual rigorous testing practices of all vaccines. They are currently approved for use in Canada, the US, and the UK.
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Vaccine candidates Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech both use the same technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA). While both sound similar, they are made up of different mRNA molecules and use slightly different delivery systems. The vaccines essentially create spikes that sit on the coronavirus, and when it's injected into your body, the immune system can make antibodies. If someone is at risk or has been exposed to COVID-19, the antibodies are ready to attack the virus and suppress it.
Both vaccines must be used twice, with the Pfizer vaccine requiring an injection with three weeks of the original shot and that of Moderna being a monthly difference.
Moderna's vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 was 94.1% after injection of the second dose and was exceptionally good against preventing COVID-19 but also against limiting its severity.
A total of 30,000 people were involved in the study, half of whom received a placebo. 15,000 received a salt shot while another 15,000 received a vaccine and only 11 of them developed COVID-19 and no one got seriously ill.
Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine was 95% effective against COVID-19 after the first dose. With a total of 36,523 participants in the study and only 18,198 who received the vaccine, only eight who received the virus actually tested positive. Similar to the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine was also very effective in limiting serious illnesses. A small proportion of the study participants stated that in the worst case scenario they only had fatigue or headaches.
Storage becomes a challenge, especially with the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at temperatures below -70 ° C. The company has developed its own packaging that lasts 10 days without special storage but ultimately requires proper storage.
The Moderna vaccine is a little more forgiving and can last up to 30 days in a regular refrigerator. It only needs a freezer with -20 ° C.
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