Written by: dr. Alexandra Francesca Chandra, MRes
COVID-19 vaccine named Comirnaty manufactured by Inc and BioNTech, is more widely known as the Pfizer Vaccine. This vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, a vaccine that contains the genetic component (mRNA) of SARS-COV-2 virus which encodes for its spike protein. This vaccine allows our body to make copies of the spike protein so that our immune system can recognize and fight the SARS-COV-2 virus which causes COVID-19.1,2
Authorization for Pfizer Vaccine
Pfizer (Comirnaty) Vaccine is the first COVID-19 vaccine that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent COVID-19 on age 16 years and above. In addition, this vaccine is also available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for 12 to 15 years old.3
In Indonesia, Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is approved by Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan Republik Indonesia (BPOM RI) or Indonesian FDA for emergency use.4
Pfizer Vaccine Receiver
Pfizer vaccine can be given to people aged 12 years and above. This vaccine is safe for both pregnant and lactating women. There is no need to avoid/postpone pregnancy after vaccination, nor postpone vaccination because of planning to get pregnant.1,3
If you have one of the health conditions below, please ask for your doctorâ€™s advice on when to get vaccinated:1,3
- History of cardiac inflammation (myocarditis, pericarditis, endocarditis) in the past 6 months
- Acute rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease
- Dilated cardiomyopathy for people under 30 years old
- Congenital heart disease
- Severe heart failure
- Heart transplant receiver
- History of syncope at previous vaccinations
Administration of Pfizer Vaccine
Pfizer vaccine is injected into the upper arm for 2 doses. The second dose is administered 21 days (3 weeks) after the first dose.1,3
Contraindication of Pfizer Vaccine
The followings are the contraindications of Pfizer vaccine:1,3
- Anaphylactic (severe allergic reaction) to other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (e.g. Pfizer, Moderna)
- Anaphylactic to vaccine components including polyethylene glycol / PEG
- History of myocarditis and/or pericarditis after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (e.g. Pfizer, Moderna)
Benefits of Pfizer Vaccine
Several benefits of Pfizer vaccine include:1,5
- Those who received vaccine completely (2 doses) are 95% less likely to get symptomatic COVID-19 compared to those who are not vaccinated
- Protection develops 7 days after dose 2 is given
Side Effects of Pfizer Vaccine
|Often||Redness/swelling in the injected area, headache, tiredness, fever/chills, muscle/joint pain (gone in 1-2 days)|
|Less Often||Redness/itchiness near the injected area, nausea and vomiting, pain in extremities, feeling unwell, lymph node enlargement, insomnia (gone in 1-2 days)
Non severe allergic reaction include: rash, hives, itching, swelling*
|Rare||Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) often occur within minutes to 1 hour after injection. Characterized by: breathing difficulties, swelling of the face/throat, having fast beating/pounding heart, bad rash all over the body, weakness**|
Please see your doctor if you have allergic reaction* or go to the emergency room immediately if you experience severe allergic reaction** after you leave the vaccination area.
Important Points After Getting Vaccinated with Pfizer
After receiving Pfizer injection, please note several points below:1,2
- There is no vaccine which is 100% effective. Thus, we may still get infected with COVID-19 after vaccination.
- It is not known yet how long the protection from Pfizer vaccine will last
- It is important to note that COVID-19, although mild or even asymptomatic, can still infect others. Thus, we should continue other preventive measures like physical distancing, hand washing, wearing a face mask, COVID-19 testing and isolation according to governmentâ€™s regulation.
- Australian Government. COVID-19 Vaccination: Information on COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) Vaccine. Latest update: 27 Aug 2021. Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/09/covid-19-vaccination-information-on-comirnaty-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine.pdf.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Vaccine Information Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers about Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to Prevent Coronavirus Disease Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Available from: https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download.
- US FDA News Release. FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine. Latest update: 23 Aug 2021. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine.
- Badan POM. Siaran Pers Tambah Pilihan Jenis Vaksin COVID-19 di Indonesia. Latest update: 7 September 2021. Available from: https://www.pom.go.id/new/view/more/pers/622/SIARAN-PERS-Tambah-Pilihan-Jenis-Vaksin-COVID-19-di-Indonesia–Badan-POM-Terbitkan-EUA-untuk-Janssen-COVID-19-Vaccine-dan-Vaksin-Convidecia.html.
- Australian Government Department of Health. About the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 Vaccine. Latest update: 13 Sept 2021. Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/learn-about-covid-19-vaccines/about-the-comirnaty-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine
- Australian Government. COVID-19 Vaccination: After your COVID-19 Vaccination. Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/03/covid-19-vaccination-after-your-pfizer-comirnaty-vaccine-covid-19-vaccination-after-your-pfizer-comirnaty-vaccine.pdf.