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9 ways the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are similar - and different

Both vaccines and the reactions around their announcement share key similarities, and some differences.

Nov 17, 2020, 2:35 AM

Updated 1,309 days ago


Moderna has announced that early data from its coronavirus vaccine trial show a 94.5 percent effective rate. This follows on the heels of an announcement from Pfizer which showed similarly promising data. Both vaccines and the reactions around their announcement share key similarities, and some differences.

1. Both effective rates are very good

Moderna has come out and said the effective rate is 94.5%. This is similar to Pfizer’s data, which the company says is about 90%.

2. Both vaccines require 2 shots

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine will require individuals to receive 2 shots. These will be administered weeks apart.

3. Available doses will be different

From the Associated Press: Moderna expects to have about 20 million doses, earmarked for the U.S., by the end of 2020. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech expect to have about 50 million doses globally by year’s end.

4. The markets cheered both vaccines

Markets spiked after Pfizer announced their data. They did again after Moderna’s news. From the Associated Press: The Dow doubled premarket gains and was up 500 points before the opening bell. Shares of Moderna, which rocketed 13% higher, were likely to hit an all-time high. Markets in Asia and Europe jumped sharply as well.

5. The data is good, but it’s early

It is not known - with either vaccine - how the data will change with continued testing or how long protections from the vaccine will last
Dr. Phil Dormitzer of Pfizer discusses long-term effectiveness. 

6. Both vaccines need to be kept cold, but not the same temperature

Both vaccines must be kept cold, which is presenting both companies with challenges in distribution. However, the AP reports that the Moderna vaccine can be kept refrigerated for 30 days after it is thawed. Pfizer’s doses must be kept in very cold temperatures for long-term periods of time.
Dr. Phil Dormitzer of Pfizer discusses vaccine distribution challenges.

7. Both companies say the more, the merrier

Representatives from both companies say more companies producing effective vaccines will only benefit the general public in the long run. From the Associated Press:
Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, welcomed the “really important milestone” but said having similar results from two different companies is what’s most reassuring.
“That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives,” Hoge told The Associated Press.
This echoes sentiments Dr. Phil Dormitzer of Pfizer relayed to News 12 during an interview following Pfizer’s announcement.
Dr. Phil Dormitzer of Pfizer says multiple companies working on a vaccine is great for the public around the world. 

8. Neither of the vaccines are made with the coronavirus

From the Associated Press: Both Moderna’s shots and the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate are so-called mRNA vaccines, a brand-new technology. They aren’t made with the coronavirus itself, meaning there’s no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.

9. Both President Trump and President-elect Biden welcomed the news of both vaccines on Twitter

This list was written with information provided by The Associated Press

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