Vaccine Name 'Comirnaty' Is Not Going Over Well

Still planning to call it the 'Pfizer vaccine'? You're not alone
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2021 3:33 AM CDT
Updated Aug 24, 2021 6:59 AM CDT
Vaccine Name 'Comirnaty' Is Not Going Over Well
FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2021, file photo, the Pfizer logo is displayed at the company's headquarters in New York. The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine may have gotten full FDA approval Monday, but the reaction wasn't all good: Many were scratching their heads over the new name it will be marketed under, Comirnaty. "The person(s) who came up with this name should never be allowed to name anything ever again. They shouldn't even be allowed to name their pets," reads one sample reaction on Twitter. "I feel like the brainstorm session that came up with the name 'Comirnaty' either ended too soon or went on way too long," reads another. Of course, as a third points out, "Nobody's going to call it Comirnaty." True as that may be, here's what you need to know about the name:

  • What the heck does it mean? It's a "mash-up" of the words community, immunity, mRNA, and COVID, Fierce Pharma explains.
  • How do you pronounce it? 'Koe mir' na tee.'

  • Who came up with it? That would be Brand Institute, the naming agency that teamed up with Pfizer and BioNTech, the developers of the vaccine, which, the Verge notes, bills itself as "The World's #1 Naming Company."
  • Relevant quote: "The name is coined from COVID-19 immunity, and then embeds the mRNA in the middle, which is the platform technology, and as a whole the name is meant to evoke the word community," says a Brand Institute exec.
  • Generic name: Tozinameran.
  • Were other names considered? Yup. Those include Covuity, RnaxCovi, Kovimerna, and RNXtract.

  • What's the competition? Moderna's COVID vaccine, which has not yet been granted full FDA approval, is known as the arguably cooler 'Spikevax' in Europe, a reference to the coronavirus' infamous spike protein. Also in Europe, the AstraZeneca vaccine goes by 'Vaxzevria.'
  • More roasting: The Washington Post rounds up more mockery of the name here.
  • Big picture: The whole thing is a bit absurd, the Verge notes, because "other than during our dark pandemic era, when would anyone notice the brand name of a vaccine?" Bet you had no idea flu shots technically have names like Afluria, Fluarix, Flublok, Flulaval, Fluvirin, and Fluzone.
(More Pfizer stories.)

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