The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its nod to Moderna’s vaccine as the country’s second COVID-19 vaccine after that of Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab. The approval came on Friday, December 18, about a week after approving Pfizer’s vaccine which is now being distributed in the country.
The US has agreed to purchase 200 million doses of Moderna, and six million may be ready to ship now. Regulators reported earlier this week that the Moderna vaccine was safe and 94% effective.
Unlike the Pfizer’s vaccine which requires temperatures closer to -75C, making transport logistics much more difficult, Moderna’s vaccine only requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping.
Like the Pfizer’s jab, the Moderna vaccine also requires a second booster shot which should be administered 28 days after the first. The second dose of the Pfizer’s jab should be taken 21 days after the first dose.
The US vaccination programme aims to reach 100 million people by April. The healthcare workers will be prioritised first, as well as Americans living in long-term care homes said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Essential workers are expected to be next in line for the jab, but it will be up to the states to decide which industries to prioritise.
Moderna is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and had previously said that the vast majority of its doses would be manufactured there.