Moderna has been accepted by the US authorities because the nation’s second Covid-19 vaccine, clearing the way in which for thousands and thousands of doses to be launched.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the US-made jab a couple of week after approving a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which is now being distributed.
The US has agreed to buy 200 million doses of Moderna, and 6 million could also be able to ship now.
The nation has the world’s highest numbers of Covid-19 deaths and circumstances.
FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn mentioned the emergency approval of the vaccine on Friday marked “another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day”.
The authorisation got here after an advisory panel on Thursday voted 20-0 with one abstention that the advantages of the Moderna vaccine outweighed the dangers for these aged 18 and over.
US President Donald Trump, who hours earlier than the official announcement tweeted that the vaccine had been “overwhelmingly approved” and distribution would “start immediately”, mentioned on Twitter: “Congratulations, the Moderna vaccine is now available!”
President-elect Joe Biden, who is ready to be vaccinated on Monday, mentioned the authorisation of the Pfizer and the Moderna jabs “assures us that brighter days lie ahead”. But, he added, “the fight against Covid-19 is not yet over.”
“We know the immense challenges ahead, including scaling up manufacturing, distribution, and the monumental task of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans. We need to make sure we have the resources to do all of this and to do it quickly.”
How does Moderna differ from the Pfizer vaccine?
It requires temperatures of round -20C for transport – just like a traditional freezer.
The jab manufactured by US company Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech SE requires temperatures nearer to -75C, making transport logistics far more troublesome.
Like the Pfizer jab, the Moderna vaccine additionally requires a second booster shot. Moderna’s second injection comes 28 days after the primary, in contrast with 21 for Pfizer.
Moderna relies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and had beforehand mentioned that the “vast majority” of its doses can be manufactured there. Pfizer/BioNTech is being manufactured in a number of international locations, together with Germany and Belgium.
Other international locations have additionally ordered the Moderna vaccine:
- Canada plans to get two million doses by March – a part of a complete 56 million doses
- The UK has already pre-ordered seven million doses
- The European Union final month introduced a contract to buy of 80 million doses – with an choice to buy as much as 80 million extra – as soon as the vaccine is deemed secure and efficient
- Japan has signed up for 50 million doses, South Korea for 20 million, and Switzerland has ordered 7.5 million, in line with information compiled by the Duke University Global Health Innovation Center
Who is first in line within the US?
The US vaccination programme goals to achieve 100 million folks by April.
New York nurse Sandra Lindsay was among the many first folks within the nation to obtain a coronavirus vaccine when the Pfizer/BioNTech rollout started on Monday.
Footage of her being vaccinated was streamed on the Twitter feed of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state was the epicentre of the US epidemic within the first wave earlier this yr.
“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instil public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We’re in a pandemic and so we all need to do our part,” Ms Lindsay mentioned.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointers submitted to US states say healthcare staff ought to be prioritised first, as properly Americans residing in long-term care properties.
Essential staff are anticipated to be subsequent in line for the jab, however it will likely be as much as states to resolve which industries to prioritise.
Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientist of federal vaccine distribution programme Operation Warp Speed, says the younger and wholesome ought to be behind the queue.
At least 70% or 80% of the US inhabitants have to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity, he mentioned.
In an announcement on Friday, high US infectious illness skilled Anthony Fauci mentioned he hoped that “all Americans will protect themselves by getting vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available to them”.
“That is how our country will begin to heal and move forward,” he mentioned.
Earlier, Vice-President Mike Pence obtained the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dwell on tv, with the White House saying the purpose was to “promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people”.