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Flavors of COVID-19 Vaccine

Walking down the ice cream aisle, I’m usually paralyzed by choice. There are so many different flavors, brands, and cartons! There’s slow churn, sorbet, and ice cream sandwiches. Will they all fulfill my craving and, I would argue, need for ice cream? Yes. But how do I know which is right for me?

We now have multiple COVID-19 vaccines and while there aren’t nearly as many to choose from as there are different types of ice cream, it’s important to understand the basics of each of them so that you feel informed when your turn comes to be vaccinated. Right now, in the United States there are currently two vaccines that are being distributed under emergency use authorizations (EUAs): one from Pfizer and one from Moderna. There is one more that will be going through the FDA EUA process (for more on that, click here) from AstraZeneca. While the AstraZeneca vaccine is not currently available in the United States, it may be very soon. With that in mind, we’ll cover the basics of these three to help you feel more informed about each vaccine.

Company: Pfizer & BioNTech1 Moderna2 AstraZeneca & University of Oxford3
Flavor: mRNA mRNA Adenovirus
Container: Ships at -94°F and can be stored for up to 10 days unopened or up to 5 days between 35°F-46°F -13°F to 5°F unopened for 30 days4 36°F-46°F for at least six months5
Efficacy (how well does it satiate your hunger): ~95% ~94% ~70%
Ages: 16+ 18+ 18+
Doses: 2 2 2
Time between doses: 3 weeks 4 weeks 4-12 weeks


The main difference between all these vaccines is the route that they take in order to get your immune system to respond and create defenses against COVID-19. The two mRNA vaccines are the very first of their kind, but the technology has been in development for many years. The same can be said for the adenovirus vaccine, of which other similar vaccines in clinical trials. All of them ultimately give your immune system the instructions for how to keep you from getting sick with COVID-19. Also, in case you’re wondering, while there may be differences in the efficacy rates, ALL of the vaccines have prevented serious illness. Trials are ongoing to determine vaccines for kids under age 16 as well as pregnant women.

No matter what version of the vaccine you get, it will be way better than not being vaccinated. Similar to ice cream, any flavor or version is better than going without. I know I’ll be indulging when my time comes, in both the vaccine and ice cream.


For more information, Colorado’s vaccine plan can be found here:




  1. COVID-19 vaccine U.S. distribution fact sheet.
  2. Overview for vaccine recipients.
  3. AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency supply in the UK.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary.
  5. AZD1222 vaccine met primary efficacy endpoint in preventing COVID-19.