Bob Franken




Americans do love our abbreviations and acronyms. So when we talk about the FDA, we mean the Food and Drug Administration, not the Foot Dragging Administration, which is what some people call it because it takes such an unnecessarily long time to make a decision about the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals.
When the FDA goes from emergency use authorization (EUA) to full regulatory approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in months instead of years, that’s something for the company’s PR department (yeah yeah, I know, “public relations”) to brag about. And that’s no BS.
But then the corporation’s marketing executives decided to attach a brand name, probably because they were trying to justify their existence, and the best they could come up with was Comirnaty. Comirnaty? What’s a Comirnaty? Is that like a “Covfefe,” Donald Trump’s contribution to the English language back when he was allowed on Twitter?
Was “Comirnaty” a typographical error? No, there was a method to the marketing department’s madness. As Brand Institute executive Scott Piergrossi told a trade publication:
“The name is coined from covid-19 immunity, and then embeds the mRNA in the middle, which is the platform technology, and as a whole the name is meant to evoke the word ‘community.’” Now we know! Did your eyes glaze over?
Here’s more, from the National Human Genome Research Institute, on mRNA, which stands for Messenger RNA: “Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a single-stranded RNA molecule that is complementary to one of the DNA strands of a gene. The mRNA is an RNA version of the gene that leaves the cell nucleus and moves to the cytoplasm where proteins are made. During protein synthesis, an organelle called a ribosome moves along the mRNA, reads its base sequence, and uses the genetic code to translate each three-base triplet, or codon, into its corresponding amino acid.” And so you know, the National Human Genome Research Institute is part of NIH (National Institutes of Health), which is part of the Health and Human Services department (HHS), which is part of the administration of any president (POTUS).

Pfizer shares the mRNA structure with competitor Moderna, which is expected to get its formal and final approval from the FDA soon. So now it’s time for Moderna to select its brand name. Have you noticed how similar mRNA is to the name Myrna? Well, those in medicine biz have, and they already commonly refer to the vaccine as Myrna. So what better brand name, right? But nooooo. For some reason, the Moderna marketing people have already chosen one. Are you seated? It’s Spikevax.
It sounds like a heavy metal band. Except it’s cool, hip and certainly trendier than Comirnaty. It’s clearly better than Myrna, which sounds like the name of your grandmother. Come to think of it, your grandmother is part of a priority demographic, so it wouldn’t be half bad. Spikevax brings to mind the real reason that so many have refused to get vaccinated: They’re not “hesitant,” or anything else. They’re procrastinating because they’re scared to death of needles and ashamed to admit it. Maybe the nurses should give them a lollipop.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, POTUS said they’re running out of excuses: “If you’re one of the millions of Americans who said that they will not get the shot until it has full and final approval of the FDA: It has now happened.”
The military is ordering all the ranks to get the shots. Disobeying a valid order is a court martial offense. As for the civilian world, some big corporations are mandating the vaccinations by a certain date. They will make it clear that disobeying is a firing offense. Then we can decide who to do business with, because whatever the marketing ploy, we have the biggest stake in this.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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