Person receiving vaccination in arm

At this time, there are two COVID vaccines that are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.

In many ways, the vaccines are alike, including the fact that both the vaccines were developed using the same rigorous vaccine testing process as all vaccines in the U.S. and both use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

Yet, there are a few differences between these vaccines.

Comparing the Vaccines

How the Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines Are the Same

  • Both vaccines are nearly 95 percent effective. This means that only 5 percent of those who received the vaccine later developed COVID-19.
  • The vaccines are not approved for children. The vaccines' clinical trials did not test them in children, but study is ongoing. Children will not be vaccinated until additional studies are done.
  • You need to get two doses of the vaccine. The vaccines were designed to provide immunity with two doses. You must get two of the same vaccine. There is no clinical evidence as to whether you develop significant immunity after the first dose, so it is important to get the second dose on schedule.
  • It takes two weeks from your second dose for immunity to develop.
  • Vaccinated people may still be able to transmit the virus to others. Current vaccine studies were not designed to determine if or how well the vaccines would stop transmission of the virus to others. This is why it is important to continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, even after you have been vaccinated.

How the Vaccines Are Different

Moderna Vaccine

Dosing: 2 doses of the same vaccine, a minimum of 28 days apart
Authorized for: People age 18 and up
Storage: Cold (-13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit)

About the Moderna Vaccine

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

Dosing: 2 doses of the same vaccine, a minimum of 21 days apart
Authorized for: People age 16 and up
Storage: Ultracold (-112 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit)

About the Pfizer Vaccine

Updated 1/7/2021


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