Problem in the Vaccine World

My healthcare professional colleagues and I are troubled. Clients have spent a great deal of time making appointments, rearranging their day’s activities, and arriving for their COVID-19 vaccine. Just before vaccination, they inquire about which vaccine they are receiving. Once they are told that it is either the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or the Moderna Vaccine, some people refuse the vaccination because they received the other for their first dose. This is not only a waste of everyone’s time, but also a potential waste of valuable vaccine.


These Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are interchangeable. When medications are deemed interchangeable, this means that they are the same. One brand of the medication is not better than the other. Thus, Pfizer is not better than Moderna. They are equally as effective to keep clients out of ICU. As a pharmacist, I deal with interchangeable medications every day. Once brand name medication patents expire, generic manufactures create a version which works equally as well. Health Canada has standards that a generic medication must meet before being approved. Most medications that people take are in Canada are generics that have been deemed interchangeable.


Refusing the interchangeable vaccine is difficult to understand. Both vaccines are mRNA vaccines. Please do not confuse the Astra-Zeneca Vaccine with Pfizer or Moderna. The Astra-Zeneca Vaccine is neither the same nor interchangeable as Pfizer or Moderna. No blood clots have been associated with the Pfizer or Moderna Vaccines.


Moderna is a U.S. biotech company. Scientists developed this vaccine. To learn more about the company, please click here for a report from The Guardian, a respected British newspaper.


Another reason I heard from people refusing the vaccine is that their prescriber told them to get the same mRNA vaccine for both doses. I believe clients are telling me the truth. However, the prescriber may have said this months ago. The vaccination guidelines have changed. People can receive whichever mRNA vaccine is available to complete their vaccinations and they are deemed equally effective. I believe that if the client went back to their prescriber, they would recommend the most available mRNA vaccine.


This pandemic has been challenging. In the past, a prescriber would make healthcare recommendations based on completed scientific studies. The recommendation would be sound. However, in this current situation, the scientific studies are in progress. Therefore, recommendations are changing as the science evolves. I know this makes some people uneasy. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the situation. I wish it were not so, but I cannot pretend that we have all the answers!


Clients have also refused because of questionable news reports. CBC, CTV, National Post, and Macleans have all published articles in favour of interchangeability of the mRNA vaccines. I am not sure which news service that clients have accessed. If you have read a news report that is not in favour of interchangeability, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment. I would like to read the report.


The difficulty with refusing the vaccination is the delaying of full immunity. The Delta variant is still present. Our infection rate is currently low in Ontario. However, this may not be the case a few months from now. The more people that can get fully vaccinated by receiving two doses, the slower the COVID-19 virus will replicate. A slower replication rate will reduce the chance of another variant of concern because fewer people are being infected.


My wife was recently fully vaccinated. She received Pfizer first and then Moderna for the second vaccination. I am so glad that she chose to accept the Moderna vaccine. She has increased her protection against becoming seriously ill with COVID. Please talk to your loved ones and friends about accepting all the mRNA vaccines. Thanks for reading! #lifestylemedicine ##vaccinatekfla



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