Florida now has Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Can you pick the one you want?
Cola or Pepsi?
It's not that easy with Pfizer or Moderna.
Once more than one COVID-19 vaccination option becomes available to the general public in Florida, you can expect to visit a vaccination site or your local pharmacy in the spring and select the one you want. Currently, the vaccine you get depends on which facility you attend, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is responsible for distributing the state's vaccines.
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This applies to hospitals, state-sponsored vaccination centers that Florida is slated to open later (similar to COVID-19 test sites), and local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, which will eventually offer the vaccines to anyone who gets the flu shots.
Part of this has to do with storage temperature. Pfizer's vaccine must be kept at more than 100 degrees below zero, according to the NPR, colder than winter in Antarctica. Pfizer's vaccine can only be put in the refrigerator up to five days before it expires, while Moderna's vaccine can be stored in regular freezers, reports CNN.
Do students and teachers need to get the COVID-19 vaccine in South Florida?
There is also high demand (both nationally and internally) and limited availability of vaccines.
As vaccines become more prevalent, the brand of vaccine a person can get may be more flexible, a spokeswoman for the state emergency department told the Miami Herald in an email.
When the option to choose the vaccine you want becomes available at some point, it may be useful for those who may be allergic to one vaccine but not the other, or for those who meet the age requirements for just one vaccine.
Both Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration this month. Pfizer's vaccine requires two vaccinations three weeks apart and can be given to people aged 16 and over. Moderna's vaccine requires two vaccinations one month apart and can be given to people aged 18 and over. None of the vaccines will give you COVID-19.
However, the two vaccines are not interchangeable. If your first shot was the Pfizer vaccine, your second shot couldn't be the Moderna vaccine, according to the CDC.
It's likely that vaccines won't be the only ones available for long either.
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, which would require a single dose, could be reviewed by the FDA for emergency approval in January, and AstraZeneca's vaccine could potentially be filed for an emergency later in February, according to Politico.
When can you get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida? It could be a couple of weeks
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