Moderna VS Pfizer: All You Can Do Is Laugh

I received my second COVID vaccine on January 25th. It went much better than my first dose. (Read all about it here.) In New Mexico, we were randomly assigned a vaccination site with no input on which brand vaccine we were receiving. After being vaccinated the first time, it was revealed that I'd received the Pfizer. 

It's not a big deal - I'd happily sign up for either brand just to get closer to a post-COVID world. (Come to think of it, that's exactly what I did.) Still, it seems I lucked out by receiving the Pfizer. 

Moderna VS Pfizer

This is just anecdotal evidence, so feel free to roll your eyes at me, but everyone I know who received the Pfizer vaccine has been perfectly fine after both doses and everyone I know who received the Moderna vaccine has gotten sick after one of the doses. 

It's merely anecdotal...except I'm in the healthcare field, so I'm basing this on lots of people, including dentists and pharmacists. I follow a professional message board where half the doctors discuss how sick they and their staff became after the Moderna COVID vaccine and the other half say they and their staff felt fine after the Pfizer COVID vaccine, with the exception of a sore arm.

Pfizer Side Effects

Again, this is just based on my own experience with the vaccine, as well as people I have spoken to, so make of it what you will. 

After receiving my initial Pfizer vaccine, my arm was sore. I guess I was a little sleepy. That was it. The shot didn't even hurt. 

Or so I thought!

My husband later remarked that the COVID shot had really messed me up. What the heck was he talking about? I'd been perfectly fine. "Not true," he insisted. 

It seems that on the evening I'd received my vaccine, he was watching TV in bed and I was sound asleep beside him. Not so unusual. 

As the story goes, I suddenly sat up in bed and was hysterically trying to wipe sweat from my neck and arms. I kept complaining that it was so hot and I wouldn't stop rubbing my face against the blanket, desperate to sop up the endless sweat. 

He reached over and felt my arm. It was icy cold. 

I have absolutely no memory of this happening.

After receiving my second Pfizer vaccine, I was initially full of energy. I'm not sure whether to attribute this to the COVID shot or the adrenaline rush of successfully completing my vaccines. A few hours later though, my legs felt heavy. It was like I'd run a marathon and now my muscles were too heavy to walk any further. 

I went to bed at 5 pm and slept well until my alarm went off the next morning. It was a normal day. My arm really wasn't even sore this time.

(Quick side note: I applied inexpensive Salonpas pain relief patches to my arm and shoulder both times. I looove them!)

One of my coworkers who received the Pfizer vaccine did have an unusual side effect. As she was driving back to work after her second shot, her tongue began to swell! It subsided on its own over the next hour or two, but we were standing by with Benadryl and an EpiPen.

The next day, she said her tongue felt like it had been burned. When we spoke to a pharmacist we know, she said she had heard of that happening with the Pfizer and the Moderna.

Moderna Side Effects

Everyone I've spoken to who received the Moderna COVID vaccine became sick with flu-like symptoms after their first or second dose (never both). Several dentists had to reschedule their patients for the day because they were so unwell. You'll be fine on the day you receive your vaccine, but may develop a fever and chills that night, coupled with a pounding headache. 

One woman I know who never, ever misses work had no choice but to call in sick the day after her second shot. She felt like she had a bad case of the flu and couldn't keep down any liquids. Her reaction was so severe that she found herself on the verge of tears several times over the next 20 or so hours. The next day, she was back at work and feeling completely fine.

Pfizer VS Moderna: What's the Difference?

Here's a common theory about why the Moderna is more likely to make you sick than the Pfizer: The dosage of the current Moderna formulation is too high. Each dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine contains 100 mcg, whereas the Pfizer COVID vaccine only contains 30 mcg. With similar effectiveness against COVID-19 from both brands (approximately 95%), the additional 70 mcg per dose seems like it may do more harm than good, at least when it comes to side effects.

Of course, Moderna would reduce this if they could. Their vaccine was developed using larger lipid cells than the Pfizer, which requires the larger volume. At least, that's the explanation I've heard from my pharmacist and engineer friends.

Which Vaccine is Better?

With COVID-19 devastating families and entire industries (we miss you, Slate Street Cafe and Holland America), get vaccinated against COVID when you are able, whether it is the Moderna or the Pfizer. If you are given the option, choose the Pfizer.

Don't been an anti-vaxxer weenie. We're approaching a whopping 200 million COVID vaccines injected. If the vaccine was not safe, don't you think the news would be full of horror stories? You can not get COVID from getting the COVID vaccine. 

What you can get is a lifetime of dizziness and fatigue and difficulty breathing (and maybe no more lifetime at all) by contracting COVID-19. "I've already had COVID and I was fine," you say? That's great to hear, but who might you have passed this highly contagious virus on to?


There's not much about COVID that's funny. Laughter is the best medicine though, so I've created a few COVID comics now that hope is on the horizon.

If you're a fellow introvert, you'll surely relate. If you're not, keep these in mind and be gentle with the friends and family members you think of as being "quiet" and "reserved." Some of us have been relishing this time isolated at home in our cozy PJs - reintroduce us into society gradually!

Introverts in 2021:

funny covid

social anxiety cartoon