All the differences between COVID-19 vaccines, summarized in a simple table that you can take to your vaccination appointment

woman getting vaccine
A physician injects someone with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

  • COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca all have unique features.
  • They vary in effectiveness, side effects, dosage, and ages approved for the shots.
  • Here is a table that compares them all. Scroll down to view it.
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Coronavirus vaccines are the world’s escape route out of a pandemic that has shut down schools, grounded flights, and left millions dead.

Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford University, and Johnson & Johnson have been approved in the West. In the US, all of them have been authorized except AstraZeneca’s – in the UK, all of them except Johnson & Johnson’s are authorized.

Each is given as a shot in the muscle of the upper arm.

You might not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine you get, but all four offer some protection against severe illness, so the advice is to take one if you are offered it. For the two-dose vaccines, you should have two shots of the same one, where possible.

Speak with your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a specific medical condition, or take medicines -especially if they thin your blood or affect your immune system. Experts have said the COVID-19 vaccines won’t make you infertile. Side effects may start within a day or two and should go away within a few days.

A rare adverse-event associated with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot includes unusual blood clots in the brain. You should seek urgent medical attention if you have a persistent or severe headache lasting more than three days. Other symptoms to watch out for include: shortness of breath, chest pain, painful limbs and tummy pain.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended on April 13 that the J&J vaccine’s rollout be paused while authorities looked into reports of rare blood clots in the brain in people who received the shot. J&J temporarily stopped its vaccine rollout in the EU too.

We’ve made a table that gives you the key information for each shot, whether you’ve booked an appointment or not. Scroll down to view it.

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