What Are the Differences Between Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines?

Medically Reviewed on 12/7/2021
Moderna vs Pfizer
Here are the differences between the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines were developed within a very short span, and they were found to be effective in most of the vaccinated population. Various varieties of vaccines were developed by different nations after conducting extensive research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three vaccines so far, and Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are among them.

  • Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were made using messenger RNA (mRNA).
  • After entering the body, the mRNA provokes your immune system.
  • As a response to these vaccines, your body produces an immune response against spike protein—a special protein present on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Although Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are made using the same technology and have near similar effects on the body, there are certain differences among them that have been highlighted in the following table.

Table. The differences between the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines
Vaccine name Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Technology mRNA vaccine mRNA vaccine
Mode of action The vaccine provides a tiny piece of genetic code from the SARS-CoV-2 virus to host immune cells and provoke them to produce antibodies against spike protein The vaccine provides a tiny piece of genetic code from the SARS-CoV-2 virus to host immune cells and provoke them to produce antibodies against spike protein
Status FDA-approved FDA-approved
Authorization date December 18, 2020 December 11, 2020
Age 18 years and older 12 years and older
Eligibility, Emergency use authorization 18 years and older 5 years and older
Dosage Two doses 28 days apart

Two doses 21 days apart:

  • Two 10 mcg doses for individuals who are 5 to 11 years
  • Two 30 mcg doses for individuals who are 12 years and older
Booster dose

A single dose is given after:

  • 28 days in immunocompromised people
  • Six months in people who are fully vaccinated with two doses

A single dose is given after:

  • 28 days in immunocompromised people
  • Six months in people who are fully vaccinated with two doses
Fully effective 14 days after the second dose 14 days after the second dose

Effectiveness

(may vary as clinic trials are going on)

  • 94 percent in age groups 18 years and older
  • 90 percent of people with comorbidities such as diabetes and obesity
  • 91 percent in age groups 16 years and older
  • 89 percent of people with comorbidities such as obesity and diabetes
  • 100 percent in age groups 12 to 15 years
  • 91 percent in age groups 2 to 11 years
Protection Against severe COVID-19 Against severe COVID-19
Highly effective against which viral mutations
  • Alpha variant
  • Beta variant
  • Delta variant
  • Eta variant
  • Kappa variant
  • Alpha variant
  • Beta variant
Side effects
  • Pain in the site of injection
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes

Rare:

  • Heart issues
  • Breathlessness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Pain in the site of injection
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes

Rare:

  • Heart issues
  • Breathlessness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anaphylaxis
FDA warning

Possible inflammation of the heart such as

  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis

Possible inflammation of the heart such as 

  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
Clinical trials Under phase III clinical trials Under phase III clinical trials
Distributed Free of cost Free of cost

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved COVID-19 vaccines as safe for humans after conducting various clinical trials on animals and healthy humans.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of physicians, nurses, elders, and others are immunized to show that the vaccines are safe. To date, millions of citizens have been fully vaccinated across the country.

Booster doses that are given to fully vaccinated people make their immunity strong against the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/7/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Types of Vaccines Available: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

Comparing the COVID-19 Vaccines: How Are They Different?: https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison