The United States added a second COVID-19 vaccine to its arsenal on Friday, boosting efforts to beat back an outbreak so dire that the nation is regularly recording more than 3,000 deaths a day. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Moderna coronavirus vaccine for emergency use for people aged 18 years and above.The move marks the world’s first authorization for Moderna’s shots. The vaccine is very similar to one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech that’s now being dispensed to millions of health care workers and nursing home residents as the biggest vaccination drive in U.S. history starts to ramp up.
Early results of large, still unfinished studies show both vaccines appear safe and strongly protective although Moderna’s is easier to handle since it doesn’t need to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures.
According to an official statement issued by Moderna, "Moderna, Inc., (Nasdaq: MRNA) a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of mRNA-1273, Moderna's vaccine against Covid-19 in individuals 18 years of age or older."
"The Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine is now authorized for distribution and use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Delivery to the US Government will begin immediately. Moderna will continue to gather additional data and plans to file a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA requesting full licensure in 2021," the statement further said.
Moderna said that approximately 20 million doses will be delivered to the US government by the end of December 2020.
"The Company expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses available globally in the first quarter of 2021, with 85-100 million
of those available in the US," Moderna added.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said in a tweet said, "Congratulations, the Moderna vaccine is now available!"
According to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University, the US has reported 17,416,108 cases of coronavirus and 313,035 deaths so far.
California has emerged as one of the most lethal hot spots, with hospitals running out of intensive care beds and ambulances lining up outside emergency rooms in scenes reminiscent of the calamity around New York City last spring. California on Friday reported over 41,000 new cases and 300 more deaths.
(With inputs from agencies)