The following COVID vaccines are available at Hancock Pharmacy:
- Pediatric Moderna Bivalent Boosters are available for kids six years and older.
- **Pediatric Pfizer Bivalent Boosters are available for kids five to eleven available!
- New Moderna and Pfizer Bivalent Booster appointments are now available!
BIVALENT BOOSTER DOSE
- The CDC has approved COVID-19 Bivalent Omicron-Specific Booster Doses.
- Pediatric Pfizer Bivalent Boosters are approved for patients five years to eleven, two months after the last COVID shot.
- Pediatric Moderna Bivalent Booster is approved for patients ages six years to eleven, at least two months after the last COVID shot.
- Pfizer Bivalent Boosters are approved for patients twelve years and older, two months after the last COVID shot.
- Moderna Bivalent Boosters will be recommended two months after the last COVID shot for patients ages six and older.
- Mixing and Matching booster doses are also approved.
PFIZER AND MODERNA VACCINES
Generally, vaccines for most viruses (influenza, shingles, and pneumonia) contain either of the following:
- A live viral vector
- An inactive portion of the virus
- A particle similar to the virus
- A protein sub-unit
Experts call these antigens, which the human body recognizes as infectious agents. Introducing these antigens to the body (via vaccines) will stimulate the body’s immune response if the body ever gets re-exposed to the virus in the future.
An mRNA vaccine functions differently since it relies on the cell’s ability to produce DNA, RNA, and proteins. The process involves injecting a messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence into the body. The mRNA sequence contains a code to produce only a fragment of the antigen for the COVID virus.
After producing the fragment, your immune system will recognize the antigen and prepare itself to combat the actual virus if you ever get exposed, safeguarding you from the real threat of the COVID-19 virus. Your body then creates memory cells to produce antibodies faster during future exposures.
Comparing the mRNA Vaccines to Traditional Vaccines
Safety: Traditional vaccines introduce your body to inactivated or weakened portions of the virus, and while their chances of causing diseases are extremely low, they are still potentially infectious. With mRNA vaccines, antigen production doesn’t last much in your body because natural processes will degrade it after making antigens.
Effectiveness: According to clinical trial results, mRNA vaccines generate a strong immune response with better toleration among those vaccinated. Although Pfizer has not yet released any official safety information, there are currently no reports of severe side effects. Any adverse effects often occur within the first few weeks of vaccination.
Production Efficiency: Laboratories produce mRNA vaccines using vaccine materials and DNA templates, providing this vaccine with a more significant production advantage. It’s an easier alternative to growing, harvesting, and purifying mammalian cells. Hence, labs can produce mRNA vaccines several months faster than traditional vaccines.
Stability and Route of Administration: The mRNA strand contained in the vaccine will be encased in a larger particle to help it stabilize after injection and prevent the body from degrading it quickly.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires a -94 °F storage and will have a degradation date of five days (at regular refrigerator temperatures. Pfizer is currently developing dry-ice-reliant containers to keep the vaccines stabilized during shipping. Healthcare facilities must also use freezers with extremely-low temperatures for vaccine storage.
The Moderna vaccine is maintainable at normal freezer temperatures for six months (at most). These vaccines can last up to 30 days after thawing in standard refrigerator temperatures.
Side effects: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine side effects are similar to that of mild covid-19 or common flu symptoms. These include the following:
- Muscle Pain
Some patients reported experiencing the following symptoms but were able to recover within a day:
- High fever
- Body ache
For further questions concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, please don’t hesitate to call Hancock Pharmacy and discuss with a pharmacist.