Same on vial, but Canada’s COVID vaccines have been renamed


It is pronounced koh-MIHR’-nuh-tee. I never heard it? Well, get used to it. It’s what Canada will call the Pfizer vaccine from now on, at least officially.

Health Canada approved new nicknames for the Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines and announced the change on social media today.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has now been dubbed Comirnaty, which the company claims represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

The Moderna vaccine will be called SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be called Vaxzevria.

Pfizer and Moderna say the change marks the full approval of the vaccines by Health Canada, which were previously approved under a provisional order that was scheduled to expire today.

It is the first time that SpikeVax, until now known as the Modern vaccine, has been fully approved anywhere in the world, said Stéphane Bancel, the company’s chief executive, in a press release Thursday.

During the interim order, the vaccines did not have their brand name, but now that new and longer-term data has been submitted and approved, they will be used under their permanent name.

Public health director Dr. Theresa Tam painted a grim picture Thursday of what could happen if more people don’t adopt vaccines.

“Unless we can rapidly reduce overall transmission rates through accelerated vaccination and other measures where the virus is increasing, the continued expansion of the epidemic could lead to higher case counts than we have experienced so far,” Tam said at a press conference.

“We are still close to seven million eligible people who are not yet fully vaccinated. Amid the prevalence of the highly contagious and more severe Delta variant, hospitalizations could exceed the capacity for medical care in affected areas.”

Vaccines are even more important against the highly contagious Delta variant, he warned.

Goodbye #Pfizer, hello #Comirnaty – Top Renamed COVID-19 Vaccines in Canada. #CDNPoli # Covid19

Health Canada notes that the vaccines themselves are not changing, just the names.

Manufacturers hope that full approval from the government agency will make people who have not yet received the injection more comfortable with the idea.

“Health Canada’s approval of Comirnaty for persons 12 years and older affirms the safety and efficacy of the vaccine shown in the longer-term data submitted to Health Canada, and it is hoped that the license can improve the confidence of the vaccine among Canadians, “Pfizer spokeswoman Christina Antoniou wrote in a statement.

Although the name change was approved, Canada will continue to receive vials labeled Pfizier-BioNTech for the next several months.

Health Canada regulatory documents show that, based on data provided by manufacturers, the vaccines are effective and well tolerated by study participants.

The FDA approved new names in the United States earlier this summer, and the vaccines have been using their brand names in the EU since spring.

This Canadian Press report was first published on September 16, 2021.

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