Person receiving vaccination in arm

At this time, there are three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States: Moderna, Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Johnson & Johnson.

All three have undergone extensive testing and either have been granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or are available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

In many ways, these vaccines are alike, including the fact that they were developed using the same rigorous vaccine testing process as all vaccines in the U.S. Most importantly, all three vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death.


Still deciding about the vaccine or know someone who is? See these 7 reasons to get the vaccine.


Comparing the Vaccines

How the Vaccines Are the Same

  • All three vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On August 23 2021, the Centers for Disease control reported that 11,000 of the 171 million people vaccinated in the United States (or less than. 01 percent) have been hospitalized with or died from COVID-19.
  • The vaccines are not authorized for children under age 12. The vaccines' clinical trials did not initially test them in children, but studies are ongoing. Children under age 12 will not be vaccinated until additional studies are done.
  • The vaccines cannot make you sick. None of the vaccines contain the live virus or any component of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Vaccinated people may still be able to transmit the virus to others.

How the Vaccines Are Different

Moderna Vaccine

Vaccine type: Messenger RNA (mRNA)
Vaccine components: View FDA Fact Sheet
Dosing: 2 doses of the same vaccine, a minimum of 28 days apart
Third dose for immunocompromised people: Yes
Time to reach full protection: 14 days after second dose
FDA status: Ages 18 and up (FDA EUA)
Storage: Cold (-13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit)

About the Moderna Vaccine

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) Vaccine

Vaccine type: Messenger RNA (mRNA)
Vaccine components: View FDA Fact Sheet
Dosing: 2 doses of the same vaccine, a minimum of 21 days apart
Third dose for immunocompromised people: Yes
Time to reach full protection: 14 days after second dose
FDA status: Ages 16 and up (FDA-approved); ages 12-15 (FDA EUA)
Storage: Ultracold (-112 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit)

About the Pfizer Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine

Vaccine type: Viral vector
Vaccine components: View FDA Fact Sheet
Dosing: 1 dose
Additional dose for immunocompromised people: No
Time to reach full protection: 28 days after vaccination (one dose only)
FDA status: Ages 18 and up (FDA EUA)
Storage: Refrigeration

About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Updated 8/30/2021


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