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COVID-19 Vaccines compared: side effects, ingredients, etc. - March 2021

From Consumerlab


Comparison of FDA-Authorized Vaccines::

Pfizer / BioNTech
(mRNA)
Moderna
(mRNA)
J&J (Janssen)
(adenovirus)
Efficacy
After 1st dose: 52%

After 2nd dose: 95%
After 1st dose: Not known

After 2nd dose: 94%

Efficacy in those 65 and older is a little lower, about 86%; however, overall, some evidence of greater protection against severe disease.
After 1st dose: 72% (moderate and severe COVID-19)

Similar in people 65 and older vs. younger people
Most Common Side Effects
Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever; more common after 2nd dose. Side effects noted to be lower in people 56 and older.Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea / vomiting, fever; more common after 2nd dose.

Side effects after 2nd dose more common with Moderna than Pfizer.
Injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, fever

Side effects similar in people 65 and older vs. younger people
Duration of Side Effects
Can last several daysTypically one day, but can last up to one weekOne or two days
Serious Allergic Reaction
Low rate of rate of severe allergic reactions (4.7 cases per million doses) but nearly double the rate for Moderna.

Treatable with epinephrine. Affected people should not receive 2nd dose.
Low rate of rate of severe allergic reactions (2.5 cases per million doses).

Treatable with epinephrine. Affected people should not receive 2nd dose.
Low rate of severe allergic reactions (only 1 case of anaphylaxis in an ongoing trial in South Africa).

Treatable with epinephrine.

One case of severe hyper­sensitivity (not anaphylaxis) per 21,895 doses in pre-authorization trial.
Age Requirements
16 years and older18 years and older18 years and older
Where to Get
Ultra-low temperature freezer storage is preferred. As an alternative, undiluted, frozen vials can be transported and stored at freezer temperatures for up to 2 weeks, which may make it available to more vaccine sites.Requires only regular freezer storage, so may be more broadly available, such as in doctor's offices, clinics, rural locations.Requires only regular refrigeration (DNA is more stable than mRNA) and single dose, so may be available in widest variety of settings
Ingredients (per dose) Pfizer / BioNTec
*30 mcg nucleoside-modified mRNA
*Lipids (fatty substances)
**(4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
**2PEG 2000-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
**1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
**Cholesterol
*Potassium chloride
*Monobasic potassium phosphate
*Sodium chloride
*Dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
*Sucrose (sugar)
Ingredients (per dose) Moderna
*100 mcg nucleoside-modified mRNA
*Lipids (fatty substances)
**SM-102
**PEG 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol (DMG)
**Cholesterol
**1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC)
*Tromethamine
*Tromethamine hydrochloride
*Acetic acid
*Sodium acetate
*Sucrose (sugar)
Ingredients (per dose) J&J
5 x 1010 viral DNA particles
*Polysorbate-80
*2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin
*Citric acid monohydrate
*Trisodium citrate dihydrate
*Ethanol
*Sodium chloride

*The CDC has recommended that people who experience anaphylaxis after the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive additional doses (CDC, 2020).
Sources: FDA Fact Sheet for Administering Moderna COVID-19 VaccineFDA Fact Sheet for Administering Pfizer COVID-19 VaccineFDA Fact Sheet for Administering Janssen COVID-19 VaccinePolack, N Engl J Med 2020Mahase, BMJ 2020New York Times (12/16/02)Shimabukuro, JAMA 2021FDA News Release, February 25, 2021


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