Academics should not be given the responsibility for naming the vaccines they create. Immediately out of the gate, the names chosen by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca are screaming for a makeover.
Pfizer-BioNTech chose Comirnaty as their COVID-19 vaccine name. Where on earth did that come from? How do you even pronounce it? Is it com-eer-na-tee, com-eyer-na-tee or is it comer-natee? Is the ‘y’ silent?
Oxford-AstraZeneca chose Vaxzevria, which is easy to pronounce, but sounds like a name they give for a shingles rash or the drug one might take for a STI.
Finally, we have the creative geniuses at Moderna, which, after breaking from a marathon brainstorm meeting, proudly proclaimed that SpikeVax was the name they wished to use. I can imagine the television commercial, “SpikeVax side affects are as follows; feeling like you are extremely powerful, able to play volleyball inordinately well despite never learning how to play, and/or the ability to jump very high from a standing position.”
The font choice comes next. I think that if Pfizer is going to go with Comirnaty, then it is the perfect time for them to dig deep into the font time machine and drag out something that might have been used by the Russians during the Cold War. There is a particularly interesting font called Kremlin Kommisar that would look flashy.
SpikeVax requires a powerful font with those accents that make it look like it is from a comic book: Bam! Boom! Swoosh! Maybe the Marvel comic font called Badaboom?
Vaxzevria is a difficult one to pin down. I like the look of it with a slant like it is moving quickly. What about the font called Fast Track?
They should have done a worldwide call for name suggestions. We could have done better, right?
Yes, this is a weak attempt to find some levity in the pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but I probably won’t even remember the new names and will respond to the vaccine question with, “Yeah – I went Moderna/Pfizer, you?” or in a few months it might be, “I’m Moderna/Pfizer/Pfizer.”
Judy Kucharuk lives and writes in Dawson Creek.