Moderna or Pfizer? How the COVID-19 vaccines compare head to head

The facade of Moderna, Inc. headquarters is seen, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass. The Food and Drug Administration said that a second potential COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna, appears safe and highly effective, bringing it to the cusp of U.S. authorization. A panel of outside experts is expected to vote to recommend the formula on Thursday, with the FDA's green light coming soon thereafter. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — An advisory group of independent scientists and other experts pored over the data Thursday of the Moderna vaccine’s performance in the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial involving more than 30,000 people.

The COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health is almost certainly as good as the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech which received a nod from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December.

In this June 11, 2009, file photo, the logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna one primes the immune system to attack the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 by delivering a snippet of the virus’s genetic code.

But were the vaccines effective in older people? How well did the vaccines work in people with preexisting medical conditions? How well did the vaccines work in people with preexisting medical conditions? Did the vaccines work equally well in men and women? Did the vaccines prevent severe cases of COVID-19?

In its Phase 3 trial, the Moderna vaccine was 100 percent effective in people ages 65 and up, while the Pfizer vaccine was 93.7 percent effective in people ages 56 and up.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool)

For people without preexisting medical conditions, it was 94 percent effective, reports said. The Pfizer vaccine, on the other hand, was 95.3 percent effective in people with a wider range of health issues and 94.7 percent effective in people without them.

The Moderna vaccine was 100 percent effective in Black, Latino and Asian Americans, as well as in people with mixed racial backgrounds.

In its Phase 3 trial, the Pfizer vaccine was 100 percent effective for Black study participants and 94.5 percent effective for Latino participants, slightly below the 94.7 percent effectiveness for white subjects.

Both vaccines performed slightly better in men than in women, on the other hand. The Moderna vaccine was 95.5 percent effective in men and 93.5 percent effective in women, while the Pfizer vaccine was 95.3 percent effective in men and 93.9 percent effective in women.

Neither vaccine caused problems that would make emergency use authorization unwarranted, the FDA analysis showed.

Short-term pain at the injection site was extremely common with both vaccines. Roughly 90 percent of those who got the Moderna vaccine reported such pain after their two doses, as did roughly 80 percent of those who got the Pfizer vaccine.