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Experts say it doesn't matter which COVID-19 vaccine you receive

Cynthia Banada
Posted at 6:19 AM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 07:24:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Across the mid-state, health care workers, first responders and at-risk patients are beginning to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Right now, two types of vaccines are available in Tennessee: one produced by the company Moderna and the other created by Pfizer. But does it matter which vaccine you get?

"From the point of view of the patient, it's six to one, half a dozen to the other, they are very, very similar vaccines," Dr. William Schaffner said. Schaffner is a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and said the two vaccines work the same in the body, have similar effectiveness, and both require two shots.

"You'll get a card when you're vaccinated that will tell you when you have to come back for your next dose and which vaccine you got," Schaffner said.

The two shots do differ when it comes to how they're handled, and Schaffner said that means most Tennesseans will likely get the Moderna vaccine.

"The Pfizer vaccine requires a really deep, cold chain, needs dry ice, special freezers and special handling, whereas the Moderna vaccine can be handled at refrigerator temperatures, and so it's the vaccine that will be more widely distributed," he said.

Doctors are hoping soon there will be even more options, as other companies continue to develop other coronavirus vaccines.

"We certainly hope that more vaccines will become available, because more vaccines mean more vaccines, and that means we can deliver them more quickly to more people," Schaffner said.