Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Everyone is excited that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved by the FDA and is now being distributed. Patients have lots of questions and your Nickman’s pharmacist wants to provide you with the most updated information.


Pfizer said that no serious safety concerns related to the vaccine were reported in its study, which included 43,661 volunteers. This would fill Heinz Field to 63% capacity.

Keep in mind that GSK studied Shingrix (shingles vaccine) in 30,000 people! And this vaccine is given ONLY to patients over 50 years of age.

Side effects do occur with any vaccine injections, here is what to expect:

  • Injection site reaction (redness, swelling, some pain)
  • Some fatigue (tiredness)
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • fever

Keep in mind, this vaccine cannot give someone COVID-19, because it is a messenger RNA (mRNA) based vaccine. There are no active virus particles in the injection.


How did they get this vaccine so fast? Lots of money, lots of companies, lots of scientist’s laser focused in developing a safe and effective vaccine. Government financial support allowed these drug companies to make a full-fledged effort to develop this life saving vaccine. Pfizer did not accept any development money but will sell 100 million doses to the U.S. government in exchange for $1.9 billion ($19 per dose). Moderna received about $1 billion in federal funds to support its vaccine development and has agreed to provide 100 million doses to the U.S. for $1.5 billion ($15 per dose). So far Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine is showing about 95% efficacy, when compared to the seasonal influenza vaccine which is around 45% effective.

OK, I’m convinced. How do I get it? ……..You have to wait your turn!


  • Phase 1a: Healthcare workers and LTCF residents
  • Phase 1b: Essential workers
  • Phase 1c: Older adults and those with high-risk medical conditions


  • Adults with comorbid conditions
  • Teachers/school staff
  • Adults in congregate care settings
  • General population


  • Young adults
  • Increase uptake in populations with low coverage