The storage requirements of coronavirus vaccines play an important role in determining the most viable vaccine that one can get. Two of the most-widely used vaccines in the U.S. are Moderna and Pfizer. While both have already been given the green light by the U.S. FDA, one's location, along with the medical facility where one will be getting the inoculation, will determine which vaccine one is most likely to get.
Doctors weighed in on the two things that could matter - storage and the logistics of handling the vaccines. Experts focused on these two aspects when it comes to determining which vaccine one may be getting.
Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, Northwell Health New York's director of global health told Healthline that the biggest disadvantage of the Pfizer vaccine is its delicate requirements for storage. Pfizer needs a special kind of freezing and handling in order to be able to maintain the right cold chain.
The Hill reported that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have already been given the green light by the U.S. FDA. While both vaccines would need to be stored in cold temperatures, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine's requirement is an "ultra cold temperature." Most of the time, ensuring that the vaccines are well-preserved would mean that they need to be stored in special freezers.
Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, told Healthline that Moderna's storage requirements may "make it more suitable for smaller, rural sites."
Verywell Health noted that another vaccine that does not require ultra cold temperatures and can be kept slightly warmer like Moderna is Astrazeneca. On the other hand, the China-based vaccine Sinovac can be stored in normal refrigerator temperatures, between two to eight degrees Celsius or 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, as Reuters reported.
Aside from the location, another factor that was also considered was the allergic reaction to the coronavirus vaccine. So far, anaphylactic reactions were reported from both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. This led a number of doctors to analyze or study the vaccines in relation to the possible allergic reactions.
A group of scientists from the inDemic Foundation are looking at the chemicals that are used in both vaccines, which may also be commonly found in foods and medicines, and are known to cause allergic reactions. The foundation's director, Dr Sam Sun, said that both Pfizer and Moderna have PEG-2000, which may be the one responsible for the anaphylaxis.
Despite both vaccines having been given the green light by the FDA, the only significant difference is the storage and transportation requirements between the two.