With not one or two, but three Covid-19 vaccines, searching for information in one place can be tedious and time-consuming. Although there are similarities with each vaccine, there are some key things to note. Here, we’ll compare some of the main components and streamline the information for you concerning the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
There are several differences with the three vaccines that make their uses unique to certain persons, businesses, and industries. What may be good for a hospital may not be good for a local pharmacy or doctor’s office. What’s good for a nurse, may not be good for a construction worker. There are different age recommendations as well. So, let’s unpack the variations to get a clearer picture of suitability.
- Pfizer – 16 years of age or older
- Moderna – 18 years of age or older
- Johnson & Johnson – 18 years of age or older
Transportation and Storage
- Pfizer – Requires a thermal shipping container and dry ice to ship
- Stored in an ultra-cold freezer (-112°F to -76°F) until the expiration date
- Stored in a freezer (-13°F to 5°F) for up to 2 weeks. Must be stored on dry ice or ultra-cold until moved to a normal freezer
- Stored in a refrigerator (36⁰F and 46⁰F) for 120 hours/5days
- Requires a diluent that is shipped separately and stored according to the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Moderna – Can be frozen, thawed, and stored in a normal refrigerator/freezer
- Stored frozen between -13ºF to 5ºF
- Store in the original carton to protect from light
- Do not store on dry ice or below -40ºF
- Can be stored refrigerated between 36° to 46°F for up to 30 days prior to first use
- Johnson & Johnson – Only refrigeration required
- Should not be stored frozen
- Unpunctured vials may be stored between 48°F to 77°F for up to twelve hours
Dosage and Efficacy
- Pfizer – Considered 95% effective
- 2 shots 21 days apart
- Moderna – Considered 94% effective
- 2 shots 28 days apart
- Johnson & Johnson – Considered 66% effective for symptomatic Covid-19 to 85% effective for severe Covid-19
- 1 dose regimen
There are common side effects for each vaccine: pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, and fever. These will vary among patients and will be more or less severe. The printed information insert is a good reference to know the complete risks. You can get this from your doctor or whoever administers your vaccine.
What Does it All Mean?
How the vaccines are shipped and stored will have an impact on who administers the vaccine to whom. Hospitals are more equipped to handle the Pfizer vaccine, while doctors’ offices and pharmacies can take on either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson products. However, because of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot dosage and its ease of storage, it has been said to be better for countries whose infrastructure is not as complex as more developed nations.
A nurse or doctor will likely have easier access to the Pfizer vaccine. Those who are in less equipped facilities and are not considered high risk will likely receive either Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. The main thing is to be informed and ask all the questions you need of the person administering your shots. Be aware of what dosage you receive (the amount is different for each shot) and keep track of what days you need to go back for a second shot if you take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. There will be more to learn as time goes on and the vaccines become more utilized, but the information above is a good place to start with what you need to know about each one.