Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2021; 25 (3): 1663-1669

DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202102_24877

COVID-19 vaccines: comparison of biological, pharmacological characteristics and adverse effects of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines

S.A. Meo, I.A. Bukhari, J. Akram, A.S. Meo, D.C. Klonoff

Department of Physiology, Pharmacology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. sultanmeo@hotmail.com


OBJECTIVE: The “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” disease has caused a worldwide challenging and threatening pandemic (COVID-19), with huge health and economic losses. The US Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization for treatment with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Many people have a history of a significant allergic reaction to a specific food, medicine, or vaccine; hence, people all over the world have great concerns about these two authorized vaccines. This article compares the pharmacology, indications, contraindications, and adverse effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The required documents and information were collected from the relevant databases, including Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics), PubMed, EMBASE, World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Drug Authorities (FDA) USA, Local Ministries, Health Institutes, and Google Scholar. The key terms used were: Coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines, Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Moderna vaccine, pharmacology, benefits, allergic responses, indications, contraindications, and adverse effects. The descriptive information was recorded, and we eventually included 12 documents including research articles, clinical trials, and websites to record the required information.

RESULTS: Based on the currently available literature, both vaccines are beneficial to provide immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine has been recommended to people 16 years of age and older, with a dose of 30 μg (0.3 m) at a cost of $19.50. It provides immunogenicity for at least 119 days after the first vaccination and is 95% effective in preventing the SARS-COV-2 infection. However, Moderna Vaccine has been recommended to people 18 years of age and older, with a dose of 50 μg (0.5 mL) at a cost of $32-37. It provides immunogenicity for at least 119 days after the first vaccination and is 94.5% effective in preventing the SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, some associated allergic symptoms have been reported for both vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild adverse effects after the first or second doses, including pain, redness or swelling at the site of vaccine shot, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, itching, chills, and joint pain, and can also rarely cause anaphylactic shock. The occurrence of adverse effects is reported to be lower in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine compared to the Moderna vaccine; however, the Moderna vaccine compared to the Pfizer vaccine is easier to transport and store because it is less temperature sensitive.

CONCLUSIONS: The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines can protect recipients from a SARS-CoV- 2 infection by formation of antibodies and provide immunity against a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Both vaccines can cause various adverse effects, but these reactions are reported to be less frequent in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine compared to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; however, the Moderna vaccine compared to the Pfizer vaccine is easier to transport and store because it is less temperature sensitive.

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To cite this article

S.A. Meo, I.A. Bukhari, J. Akram, A.S. Meo, D.C. Klonoff
COVID-19 vaccines: comparison of biological, pharmacological characteristics and adverse effects of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2021
Vol. 25 - N. 3
Pages: 1663-1669
DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202102_24877