Home » Business » The US just authorized Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, making millions more doses available to help curb the pandemic
The US just authorized Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, making millions more doses available to help curb the pandemic
US regulators have authorized a second coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.
This two-dose vaccine, developed by the biotech firm Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health, was about 94% effective at preventing COVID-19 in a large clinical trial.
Moderna's vaccine is easier to store and transport than Pfizer's COVID-19 shot, which got US clearance a week ago.
Moderna plans to deliver 20 million doses in the US by year's end.
The authorization is the latest achievement in a remarkable story of science and business for Moderna, a company that has surged in 2020 based off its COVID-19 success.
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The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna's coronavirus shot for emergency use, making the two-dose vaccine the second to be cleared by US regulators.
Moderna's vaccine can be given to all people in the US over age 18, the FDA said Friday in a news release. The authorization comes a day after an independent panel of experts recommended that FDA greenlight the shot.
The authorization will boost the US supply of a crucial pandemic-fighting tool, and Moderna's shot is easier to ship and store than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Within days, the US government's Operation Warp Speed vaccine initiative plans to ship out 5.9 million doses of Moderna's shot to more than 3,200 sites across the nation.
Having two authorized vaccines should allow tens of millions of Americans to get vaccinated in the coming months. Warp Speed officials anticipate 20 million Americans will get a shot in December, 30 million more in January, and 50 million more in February.
"With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken 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," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a news release.
Read more: Meet the 19 key scientists, executives, and leaders responsible for pushing coronavirus vaccines across the finish line
Healthcare workers and people living in nursing homes are being vaccinated first. Plans vary by state, but essential workers such as teachers and firefighters are generally next in line. Top government scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Warp Speed chief advisor Moncef Slaoui, have said vaccines should be available to the general public in late-spring or early summer. They hope that will help the US return to some level of normality in the summer or fall.