It's Pronounced Koe-mir'-na-tee. How The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine's Name Came To Be

It is Pronounced Koemir'-nae-tee. How the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine's name came to be
This image can be enlarged by clicking the toggle caption Robert F. Bukaty/AP Robert F. Bukaty/AP

It's Koe-mir-na-tee.

Comirnaty is the official brand name for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. This week, the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the vaccine.

The vaccine's brand name is also approved for use in the United States as part of the approval process.

How did Pfizer and BioNTech come up with this moniker?

BioNTech and Pfizer wanted special meaning to be highlighted

The process of naming the vaccine began early in its development.

According to FiercePharma, Brand Institute, the naming agent behind the effort began working with BioNTech in April 2020. Later, Pfizer joined the branding team.

Scott Piergrossi is the president of Brand Institute's operations and communications. He told FiercePharma that drug names are meant to "overlap ideas and add meaning."

Click to enlarge this image. Caption Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket Via Gett

Pfizer reports that the pharmaceutical companies wanted to place emphasis on COVID immunization as well as the core mRNA technology of the vaccine. They wanted to include "community" as well as "immunity in the final product.

Comirnaty covers all bases.

Pfizer and BioNTech stated that the name "represents a mixture of the terms COVID-19 and mRNA, community and immunity, to emphasize the first authorization for a messengerRNA (mRNA), vaccine, as well the joint global efforts made this achievement possible with unparalleled rigor, efficiency, and safety at the forefront during the global pandemic."

Are there any other names that were considered?

Covuity and RnaxCovi were all considered.

FiercePharma stated that BioNTech filed these names with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the summer.

Comirnaty is humbled by the internet

Comirnaty, a life-saving vaccine, can help to end a pandemic.

The internet doesn't seem to care. Shortly after the announcement, critics turned to Twitter for ridicule.

Ben Wakana, a member of the White House's COVID-19 Response Team, joked: "The correct pronunciation of Comirnaty is: "keepz-u-out-of-the-hospital-saves-UR-life-protects-your-community."

It could get worse.

Alexander Gaffney, executive Director of Politico's AgencyIQ noted that it isn't too bad. He also tweeted that some other drug names have been released this year, including Zynlonta and Truseltiq. You can choose your choice.

Gaffney laughed that these names looked like a drug executive trying to create a name by using letters from a bad Scrabble hand.

Zoomen this image to toggle caption Alex Brandon/AP Alex Brandon/AP

What's Moderna's vaccine going for?

According to the European Medicines Agency, Spikevax is a brand name for Spikevax.

Moderna is still waiting for FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine.