After an FDA approval, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is entering the market under a new name: “Comirnaty.”
Jonathan Baktari, MD, CEO of e7health.com, who has been in the vaccine business before the pandemic, told Verywell that all pharmaceutical companies name their drugs or vaccines. “They don’t usually name a product after their parent name,” he says.
“Part of it is getting the patent and also developing brand awareness,” Baktari says. “They try to give it a name that symbolizes something similar to what the disease or treatment does.”
What Does “Comirnaty” Stand For?
According to Brand Institute, a healthcare company that worked with Pfizer to name the vaccine, Comirnaty combines four ideas: COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.
CO as in COVID-19, the virus targeted by the vaccine.
Mirna as in mRNA, the technology used to create the vaccine, (plus a vowel).
Ty as in a way to rhyme with “community,” which the company says highlights the global vaccination efforts, and “immunity,” which is the goal of the vaccine.
The FDA approval of Comirnaty applies to people aged 16 and above. The mRNA-based vaccine was first granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in December 2020 and continues to be under an EUA for children ages 12 to 16. In EUA circumstances, the company will still refer to its shot as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Regardless of the name, the vaccine formulation is the same. People who receive Comirnaty or the vaccine under EUA can rest assured that they’re getting the same shot.
Most vaccine manufacturers don’t want to be associated with one product forever, Baktari says. He adds, especially for a company like Pfizer, which has thousands of medications, being associated exclusively with a COVID-19 vaccine could make it hard to market future products.
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