As hundreds of people in the United States and Puerto Rico are vaccinated against COVID-19, regulators from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a positive review of Moderna’s vaccine, which would promote a second drug to achieve immunization against SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The agency posted on its website the initial review confirmed the efficacy and safety of the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, taking the injection to the pinnacle of US authorization.
“It is highly effective,” the FDA reported. Furthermore, the documents state that Moderna’s drug is 94% effective in preventing disease and did not cause serious safety problems during the studies.
A panel of outside experts will offer their recommendation on Thursday, with a final decision from the FDA expected as soon as next Friday.
The news comes as U.S. hospitals began ramping up vaccines with the injection developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which the FDA approved last week.
Packed in dry ice to stay in deep-frozen temperatures, shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will reach an additional 400 hospitals and other distribution sites, a day after the nation’s death toll surpassed 300,000.
The first 3 million vaccines are being strictly rationed to front-line healthcare workers and elderly care patients, with hundreds of millions more vaccinations needed in the coming months to protect most Americans.
A second vaccine cannot arrive soon enough as the nation’s daily death count continues to exceed 2,400 amid more than 210,000 new daily cases, based on weekly averages of data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The first deliveries of vaccines have provided a measure of encouragement to exhausted doctors, nurses and hospital employees across the country.