vaccine names

All of the COVID vaccines in Canada just got new names and they're so freaking weird

Vaccine names have never really been a hot topic in Canada, because, like, why would they be? All most people care about is that their inoculations are safe, available and effective.

After all, there's not much to talk about. It's not as though any vaccines have splashy monikers like "SpikeVax," or confusing jibberish labels with old-timey-British-butler-name vibes like "Comirnaty" or anything.

Except that it IS like that — exactly, like that, thanks to Health Canada's formal authorization of name changes for the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

The federal government announced Thursday morning that, moving forward, the Pfizer vaccine will now be named Comirnaty. Moderna will henceforth go by the brand name SpikeVax, and AstraZeneca now "Vaxzevria."

People all over the country have been popping off on Twitter ever since the news of this name change authorization dropped, many to express disbelief over the fact that these names are real.

There are now thousands of genuinely hilarious responses to Health Canada's original tweet thread.

"Comirnaty" seems to be getting the most attention of all three, because like... what in the heck does that even mean?

According to The Verge, comirnaty is supposed to be a portmanteau of the words community, immunity, COVID-19, and mRNA. 

Twitter isn't picking up what Pfizer is putting down, though — most people seem to think it's pure gibberish.

Some say it sounds a bit like "commie" and nobody knows how to pronounce it. If you lean hard into the "i" and make the "a" soft, it could theoretically almost sound like "Come here, naughty." 

SpikeVax, which sounds like something you'd find at a convenience store next to Monster Energy Drink, is also generating a lot of buzz.

Moderna's extreme-sounding name is being likened to that of a riot grrl revival band, a Pokemon starter, a superhero and a "muscle booster drug the evil gang uses in a 1992 straight to VHS C-movie action flick," among other things.

And AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria sounds to many people like a fantasy novel character or Russian femme fatal.

Jokes abound, but people also have serious concerns about the government approving new names at this point, when many provinces are struggling to get more people vaccinated.

"Why on earth would you authorize vaccine confusion right now? And who on earth thinks that Vaxzevria, SpikeVax or Comirnaty are good brand names?," asked one Twitter user. "Vaxzevria and Comirnaty sound like names for side-effects from vaccines." 

In the spirit of calling things by what we know them as, many Toronto residents are now pledging to "SkyDome" the vaccine names — as in, call them what we've always called them, similar to how most people still refer to the Rogers Centre as the SkyDome.

The iconic retractable-roofed stadium was renamed after it was purchased by Rogers Communications in 2005.

"No goddamn way," joked one local in response to Health Canada's tweet. "Good Canadians will always call these SkyDome, Simpsons and MuchMusic thank you very much."

While they will have new brand names, Health Canada states that no changes are being made to the vaccines themselves.

"All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are proven safe, effective and of high quality," the health department writes.

The only real difference for consumers is now telling people whether you're team SpikeVax, Comirnaty or Vaxzevria. If you have a mix of shots, you could go with something like "I'm a SpixeVax with Cominarty rising," or the simple "I have a mix of Moderna and Pfizer."

Lead photo by

@curtain_flower


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