The Moderna coronavirus vaccine is getting very close to FDA authorization

person holds coronavirus vaccine doses in front of a moderna sign
Photo via Marco Verch Professional Photographer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A day after people began receiving the Pfizer vaccine in the U.S., the Moderna vaccine is reportedly on track to win its own authorization from the Food and Drug administration by mid-December.

According to CNBC, the FDA staff endorsed an emergency authorization use of the vaccine, the same process the Pfizer vaccine completed before it began being distributed across the country. The Moderna version could be fully authorized for emergency use as soon as Dec. 18. Next, an FDA advisory committee will meet to give its own recommendation. If the FDA gives its emergency authorization, the vaccine could begin distribution by Dec. 21.

The most common side effects of the Moderna vaccine included soreness after the injection, fatigue, muscle pain, and headache. Like the Pfizer vaccine, people who receive the Moderna version will have to get two shots, spaced several weeks apart.

According to Moderna’s data, the vaccine was more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 in its clinical trial of 30,000 people. Among the 15,000 people who received the vaccine in those trials, only 11 developed the virus. None of them became “severely ill” from the infection. Of the 15,000 who received the placebo, 185 were infected by COVID-19.

According to Moderna, the company can produce 20 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020 and could release 1 billion in 2021.

Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks told CNN that “it was the first time I allowed myself to cry” after he saw the successful vaccine results. “We have a full expectation to change the course of this pandemic,” he said on Nov. 30.

One advantage of the Moderna vaccine is that it can be stored at refrigerated temperatures of 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 days. The Pfizer vaccine, meanwhile, needs to be stored at minus-94 degrees, making its worldwide distribution a tougher accomplishment.

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Sources: CNBC, CNN

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