TULSA, Okla. — A new COVID-19 vaccine is in Oklahoma with more on the way.
More than 66,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in the state Monday. Six sites already received a part of that shipment and 21 additional sites will receive them Tuesday and Wednesday. This comes as Pfizer’s vaccine continues to be administered to frontline healthcare workers.
Maderna’s vaccine will be especially beneficial for Oklahoma. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) while Moderna’s vaccine only requires it to be stored at regular freezer temperature. This will make it easier for rural hospitals and pharmacies to store Moderna’s vaccine.
“It will make it much more convenient when we start thinking about distributing it to rural Oklahoma through pharmacies and physician’s offices," said Dr. Dale Bratzler, chief medical officer for OU Medical Center.
Dr. Bratzler said there’s virtually no difference between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Plus, you’ll likely not have a choice between the two when it’s your turn. But, there are some key differences in how it’s stored and distributed across the state.
The side-effects for Moderna’s vaccine is similar to Pfizer’s vaccine. Most vaccine recipients will experience slight bruising or soreness at the injection site, mild fever, head-ache and fatigue. Both vaccines are also M-RNA vaccines.
“You’re only receiving a piece of the genetic code of the virus. That’s all it gives you. It’s Just the machinery to produce that “spike protein” so your body can develop an immune response to it.”
The time between the original dose and the booster differs between the two manufactured vaccines as well. Pfizer requires three weeks between doses, while Moderna requires four. Pfizer’s vaccine is only stable for five days after being taken out of the storage and Moderna’s vaccine can remain stable for 30 days.
Both also present the possibility of allergic reactions equally. For those who are prone to allergic reactions to vaccines, “We’re actually suggesting people take one of the non-drowsy antihistamine, such as a drug like zyrtec, to take it two to three hours before coming to get their vaccine,” Dr. Bratzler said.
Additionally, Dr. Bratzler also said older adults tend to show less side effects than the younger population.
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