is the brand name of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Creating a new vaccine can take years. However, the development of vaccines for COVID-19 has progressed quickly for many reasons, including:

  • Quick adaptation of existing research programs such as those focusing on mRNA
  • International collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry, governments and regulators
  • Increased dedicated funding
  • Reduced time delays in vaccine authorization process

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Number of patients vaccinated around the world

BioNTech’s research in mRNA 

Pfizer’s history in developing vaccines 

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

How important is the second dose?

Safety information

Number of patients vaccinated around the world

22K+

patients in clinical trials

During its development, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was received by over 22,000 patients in clinical trials. 

400M+

doses worldwide

 (as of February 24, 2022)

Around the world, more than 403 million doses have been given – and those numbers continue to increase.

Pfizer partnered with BioNTech 
due to this company's dedication to scientific innovation and leadership, and its rich history of mRNA vaccine research. While clinical studies for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine began in 2020, BioNTech had been working with the mRNA technology for more than 20 years.

BioNTech’s research of mRNA

Jan. 2020

Genetic sequencing of the virus
​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Start of global development program

Apr. 2020

Phase 1/2 studies

Jul. 2020

Phase 2/3 studies

Dec. 2020

Authorization for use

 

Ongoing studies

Pfizer's history in developing vaccines

Pfizer is committed to bringing patients timely access to quality healthcare through innovative medicine backed by strong science and supportive patient experiences. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

What is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
​​​​​​​used for?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a vaccine used to prevent COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19
Vaccine can be given to people 5 years of age and older.

How is the vaccine given?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is injected into a muscle of your upper arm.

​​​​​​​The recommended primary dose schedule is 2 injections given 3 weeks apart. However, the time between doses may differ depending on the vaccination protocol in your province.

In people who are immunocompromised, including those receiving immunosuppressant therapy, a third dose may be considered as part of
the primary series, because they may have a diminished immune response to the vaccine. 

​​​​​​​A booster dose may be given to people 18 years of age and older, at least 6 months after completion of the primary series. 

​​​​​​​The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends a booster dose of an authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be offered ≥6 months after completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine series to adults ≥50 years of age and adults living in long-term care homes or other congregate living settings that provide care for seniors. A booster dose of an authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be offered ≥6 months after completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine series to adults 18–49 years of age with consideration of jurisdictional and individual risks. 

How important is it to complete the primary series?  

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) notes that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is efficacious against symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 disease when provided as a two-dose schedule.

It is very important that you return for all subsequent doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine may not work as well if you do not receive all doses.

It is very important that you return for all subsequent doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine may not work as well if you do not receive all doses.

How important is it to
complete the primary
​​​​​​​series?  

The National Advisory Committee on
Immunization (NACI) notes that the
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is
efficacious against symptomatic
laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 disease
​​​​​​​when provided as a two-dose schedule.

Who may receive a booster dose?

People 18 years of age and older may be given a booster dose at least
​​​​​​​6 months after completion of the primary series.​​​​​​​ [PM p.57B]​​​​​​​

The NACI recommends that a booster dose of an authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
should be offered ≥6 months after completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine series
to : [NACI booster Dec2021 p. 5A.6B]

  • Adults ≥50 years of age
  • Residents of long-term care seniors’ homes (or other congregate living settings that
    provide care for seniors)
  • Recipients of a viral vector vaccine primary series that was completed with only viral
    ​​​​​​​vector vaccines

A booster dose of an authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be offered ≥6 months after completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine series to adults 18–49 years of age with consideration of jurisdictional and individual risks

  • How does it work?
  • Safety information

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine helps our body produce an immune response to help protect us from the COVID-19 virus. While the vaccine uses the genetic code of a part of the virus, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

As with any vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may not fully protect all those who receive it.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should not be used if you/your child have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose, or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. 

If you/your child have any symptoms that could be due to COVID-19, talk with your healthcare professional about your symptoms and getting a COVID-19 test. Your healthcare professional will advise you when you are able to receive the vaccine. 

Before getting the vaccine, talk to your healthcare professional if you/your child:

  • have had any problems following previous administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine such as an allergic reaction or breathing problems.
  • have allergies.
  • have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or are on a medicine that affects your immune system.
  • ​​​​​have previously had episodes of myocarditis and/or pericarditis.
  • are feeling nervous about the vaccination process or have ever fainted in association with an injection.
  • have a bleeding problem, bruise easily, or use a blood-thinning medication.
  • are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding.

Please note: 
Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 people) include: pain and swelling at injection-site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, and diarrhea. Common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 100 and up to 1 in 10 people) include: injection site redness, nausea, and vomiting. Uncommon side effects (may affect more than 1 in 1000 and up to 1 in 100 people) include: enlarged lymph nodes, feeling unwell, arm pain, feeling weak or lack of energy/sleepy, decreased appetite, excessive sweating and night sweats. Non-severe allergic reactions (such as rash, itching, hives or swelling of the face), severe allergic reactions and facial paralysis/Bell’s palsy have been reported. There is a remote chance that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. Should you/your child develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction, seek medical attention right away. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy), swelling of the face, tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness and weakness.

Looking for more information?

Download our Patient Information Brochure 

Learn more about other COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Canada.