Moderna’s vaccine will now be called SpikeVax in Canada

If you end up needing a booster shot of your Covid-19 vaccine in the NWT, you’ll probably get SpikeVax. If you’re a teenager, maybe it’ll be Comirnaty.

Those are the new names for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines respectively. Both vaccines received full Health Canada approval this week and with that approval came brand name changes for both. (The vaccines themselves don’t change, just the names.)

AstraZeneca’s vaccine will now be known as Vaxzevria.


While the vaccines were still under emergency approval, they had no brand names. With full approval, Health Canada tweeted, the new names come into effect. In Europe, Australia, and some other parts of the world, that change took place several months ago.

Of course, whether that means anyone in the NWT actually calls Moderna’s vaccine SpikeVax is another matter.

“At two syllables with a ‘vax’ suffix, that’s considered a big win from a branding standpoint in the pharma and vaccine industry,” branding specialist Scott Piergrossi told a pharmaceutical industry website when Moderna’s vaccine name changed for Europeans in late June.

Piergrossi acknowledged “it’s going to take some time for the vaccine brand names to establish traction, understanding, and awareness in the market.”

SpikeVax is understood to relate to the spike proteins central to the way certain vaccines protect against Covid-19.


Comirnaty is reported to break down as follows: Co represents community, mirna refers to the mRNA science behind the vaccine, and ty is the end of both community and immunity.