Comparing the differences between COVID-19 vaccines

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See the different COVID-19 vaccines:

Type

Pfizer – Type

mRNA vaccine

Moderna – Type

mRNA vaccine

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Type

Vector vaccine

Effectiveness

Pfizer – Effectiveness

91% effective at preventing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus with symptoms in people age 16 and older

Greater than 89% effective in preventing people with health conditions, such as diabetes or obesity, from developing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms

100% effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus in children ages 12 through 15

Appears to protect against severe COVID-19 due to COVID-19 variants

Moderna – Effectiveness

94% effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms

Greater than 90% effective in preventing people with health conditions, such as diabetes or obesity, from developing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms

Appears to protect against severe COVID-19 due to COVID-19 variants

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Effectiveness

66% effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms

85% effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus with severe illness

Appears to protect against severe COVID-19 due to COVID-19 variants

Doses

Pfizer – Doses

Two doses are needed, 21 days apart (or up to six weeks apart, if needed) in the U.S.

Some protection provided after the first dose

The CDC recommends a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (at least 28 days after the second dose) for some people with weakened immune systems, such as those who have had an organ transplant. People with weakened immune systems might not develop enough immunity after vaccination with two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. An additional dose might improve their protection against the COVID-19 virus.

Moderna – Doses

Two doses are needed, 28 days apart (or up to six weeks apart, if needed) in the U.S.

Some protection provided after the first dose

The CDC recommends a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (at least 28 days after the second dose) for some people with weakened immune systems, such as those who have had an organ transplant. People with weakened immune systems might not develop enough immunity after vaccination with two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. An additional dose might improve their protection against the COVID-19 virus.

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Doses

One dose is needed

Some protection provided two weeks after vaccination

There isn’t enough research to determine if people with weakened immune systems who got a Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have an improved response after getting an additional dose of the same vaccine.

Side effects

Pfizer – Side effects

Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, nausea, feeling unwell and swollen lymph nodes

Note: Rarely, some people have had heart problems after getting a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Seek medical care if you have chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart within a week of getting the vaccine.

Moderna – Side effects

Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, nausea, feeling unwell and swollen lymph nodes

Note: Rarely, some people have had heart problems after getting a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Seek medical care if you have chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart within a week of getting the vaccine.

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Side effects

Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea

Note: If you received this vaccine within the last three weeks and are experiencing any unexplained new severe symptoms, seek emergency care.

Possible severe symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent stomach pain, severe or persistent headache, blurred vision, chest pain, leg swelling, easy bruising, and tiny red spots on the skin.

Rarely, some people may develop Guillain-Barre syndrome after getting the vaccine. Seek immediate medical care if you have weakness or tingling sensations, difficulty walking, difficulty with facial movements, double vision, and difficulty with bladder control.

Ingredients

Pfizer – Ingredients

Doesn’t contain eggs, latex or preservatives

Moderna – Ingredients

Doesn’t contain eggs, latex or preservatives

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Ingredients

Doesn’t contain eggs, latex or preservatives

Authorization and safety

Pfizer – Authorization and safety

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for people age 16 and older for Pfizer BioNTech, now called Comirnaty

FDA emergency use authorization for people age 12 to 15

Safety closely monitored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA

Moderna – Authorization and safety

FDA emergency use authorization

Safety closely monitored by the CDC and FDA

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Authorization and safety

FDA emergency use authorization

Continues to be recommended by the FDA and CDC after a pause because the benefits outweigh the risks

Safety closely monitored by the CDC and FDA

Eligibility

Pfizer – Eligibility

People age 12 and older can get the vaccine

People who’ve had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine’s ingredients or after a prior dose of the vaccine and people who are allergic to polysorbate shouldn’t get the vaccine

People who’ve had an immediate allergic reaction to any vaccine or injectable medication should be cautious about getting the vaccine

Moderna – Eligibility

People age 18 and older can get the vaccine

People who’ve had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine’s ingredients or after a prior dose of the vaccine and people who are allergic to polysorbate shouldn’t get the vaccine

People who’ve had an immediate allergic reaction to any vaccine or injectable medication should be cautious about getting the vaccine

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Eligibility

People age 18 and older can get the vaccine

People who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine’s ingredients shouldn’t get the vaccine

Cost

Pfizer – Cost

Free in the U.S.

Moderna – Cost

Free in the U.S.

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Cost

Free in the U.S.

Existing health conditions

Pfizer – Existing health conditions

You can get a vaccine if you have an existing health condition or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have existing health conditions, take medications, or you’re pregnant, and you have questions about the vaccine, talk to your doctor.

If you have any other questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor.

Moderna – Existing health conditions

You can get a vaccine if you have an existing health condition or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have existing health conditions, take medications, or you’re pregnant, and you have questions about the vaccine, talk to your doctor.

If you have any other questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor.

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – Existing health conditions

You can get a vaccine if you have an existing health condition or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have existing health conditions, take medications, or you’re pregnant, and you have questions about the vaccine, talk to your doctor.

If you have any other questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor.