If you have been following the Covid-19 news, you know that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA and is being administered in the U.S. right now. You probably also know that the Moderna vaccine has been submitted to the FDA and is expected to be approved within the week. The vaccines are similar according to reports, but the big difference is that the Pfizer one requires super-cold freezers to store the vaccine and dry ice packing to preserve it during shipping or for storage. The Moderna one can use conventional freezers and trucks.
This led me to take a look at which of these vaccines is of most interest to the public. Here are two charts taken from Google Trends. The top one shows the searches between the two company names over the last year. The bottom one shows where people are searching for dry ice over the last thirty days.
Bear in mind that the top one takes in a long period when it was uncertain which company’s vaccine would become the first to market. Once Pfizer was approved first, both in the U.K. and the U.S., searches for Pfizer greatly outnumbered Moderna, so the top one would be all blue for almost any shorter time frame. It will be interesting to see if that changes in a week or two. I find it interesting that for the most part it was the more populated states that had more interest in Moderna. I have no explanation for that, nor for the fact Wyoming joins them.
The bottom chart makes more sense to me. The dark blue states are where the interest was greatest on a relative basis. The greatest interest seems to be in more rural states with low population density. I expect those states have few of the special freezers needed for the Pfizer vaccine and have greater need for dry ice to store and transport it. Hospitals and nursing homes in those states are probably scrambling to see where they can obtain sufficient dry ice. This trend, too, could change once the Moderna vaccine is approved and begins shipping.