Pharmacist explains differences between Pfizer and Moderna vaccine

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — There are currently two COVID-19 vaccines being distributed in West Virginia: The Modern and Pfizer Vaccine. There are some questions many people want to know, is there much of a difference?

Pharmacist Keith Foster with Eppy’s Drug and IV, told 59News there is not much a difference, but both use the same technique.

“We’re injecting what is called a genetic material into your body and it stimulates the growth of these spike proteins and these proteins are what attach to the human cells from the COVID virus, and allows the COVID virus to build in your body,” Foster said.

The side effects are about the same, like headache, body aches, and injection site soreness.

The Pfizer vaccine dose is 0.3 mL, with 6 doses in each vile. While the Moderna vaccine is 0.5 mL, with 10 doses in each vile. For a pharmacist, the preparation of the vaccine before it’s shot in the arm does differ.

“The Pfizer does come in and you have a diluent, you have to dilute the vaccine before you get it. Where the Moderna comes in ready to go for drawing,” explained Foster.

How long you have to wait for your second dose is also different. The Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart, and the Pfizer vaccine doses are given 21 days apart.

Foster said even if you think one sounds more appealing, it’s really not a choice. They get what they can from the state, and distribute as soon as possible.

“There’s really not a choice. We don’t get a choice. The state sends us what they have available based on what they’ve been sent by the federal government,” Foster said.

Foster said once you get the first dose of one brand, you have to stick to getting the same brand for the second dose.

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