Moderna vaccine nears approval in US as rollout of Pfizer jab continues

The US is close to approving a second COVID-19 jab for use, as the country ramps up its vaccination programme.

America’s regulatory authority, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said its early analysis of the Moderna vaccine confirmed its 95% efficacy.

And on Tuesday, FDA staff endorsed it as safe and effective.

A panel of independent experts will gather on Thursday to discuss the vaccine, with emergency use authorisation by the FDA set to follow shortly afterwards, possibly on Friday.

The FDA normally follows the advice of the panel, but is not required to do so.

Similar to the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna inoculation requires two doses several weeks apart.

MIRAMAR, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 14: Brian Mendez, MD at the Memorial Healthcare System, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine from Colleen Claffey, RN at Memorial Healthcare System, on December 14, 2020 in Miramar, Florida. . The hospital system announced it will be vaccinating their frontline workers that are in contact with COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Image:Healthcare workers are among the first to get the Pfizer jab

Although Moderna reported no major safety issues from its trial, the FDA will scrutinise the data to ensure the jab is safe.

More from Covid-19

  • COVID-19: London hairdresser facing £10,000 fine after turning salon basement into makeshift club

  • COVID-19: Gove to hold talks with devolved nations over relaxation of rules at Christmas

  • COVID-19: Weekly testing to be made available for secondary schools and colleges

  • COVID-19: Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith among first celebrities to receive COVID jab

  • COVID-19: What are Europe’s Christmas coronavirus rules?

  • COVID-19: Greenwich council backs down in fight with government over closing schools due to rising coronavirus rates

The vaccine’s main side-effects appear to be fatigue and aching muscles after the second jab – although these effects are common with most injections and is indicative that the vaccine is working to create antibodies.

It comes as hospitals across the US ramped up their vaccination programme using the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which was cleared by the FDA last week.

The Pfizer vaccine, which has to be transported in dry ice to keep it at -70C, is due to arrive at another 400 hospitals and distribution sites on Tuesday – a day after it was revealed more 300,000 people have died in the US with COVID-19.

Frontline health workers and elderly patients will get the first three million doses of the Pfizer jab, with hundreds of millions more arriving over the next few months.

Florida and New Jersey are among the states taking deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine, with 176,000 doses alone hitting those states.

Should we be worried about coronavirus mutating - and could it affect the vaccine?

Should we be worried about coronavirus mutating – and could it affect the vaccine?

Private delivery companies, such as FedEx, have been drafted in by the US government to help get the vaccine across the country from its factory in Michigan, with more shipments due in the coming days.

Army General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, said: “We’re starting our drumbeat of continuous execution of vaccine as it is available.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

US COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin

“We package and we deliver. It is a constant flow of available vaccine.”

Officials expect that 20 million Americans will be able to get their first doses by the end of the year, with a further 30 million in January.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *