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The Pfizer vaccine will be officially called Comirnaty, for some reason

The Pfizer vaccine will be officially called Comirnaty, for some reason


Comirnaty, Spikevax, and the weird world of branding COVID-19 vaccines

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With official Food and Drug Administration approval, the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine can now be marketed as Comirnaty in the US, great news for general vaccine acceptance, sure, but also anyone who loves to fixate on bizarre drug names.

Comirnaty is apparently supposed to be a portmanteau of several words — community, immunity, COVID-19, and mRNA — Fierce Pharma writes. The branding was produced for Pfizer-BioNTech by the Brand Institute — “The World’s #1 Naming Company” — and while it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, it is at least shorter than most drug names.

On the other hand, it’s not nearly as metal as Spikevax, the European brand name of the Moderna vaccine and another Brand Institute project. Spikevax directly references the spiky structure of COVID-19 and the word vaccines (having “vax” in the name is big, I’ve read). It could mark quite a badass second wind for US Moderna fans who’ve lived in the shadow of the “hot-person vaccine” once it's approved by the FDA. Vaxzevria, the brand name for the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe, is a bit more inexplicable. I really have nothing to say about it other than good on them for getting vax in there, and for immediately bringing Dr. Doom to mind anytime I read the name quickly.

The names are goofy, but the absurdity is highlighted because, other than during our dark pandemic era, when would anyone notice the brand name of a vaccine? We’re at a perfect intersection of having enough time to care, enough fear to obsess, and enough nihilism to laugh. Remember this next year when new flu shot brand names drop. Afluria 2 will need your attention.