Moderna's coronavirus vaccine could be granted an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the week. The agency released a report compiled by an advisory committee that found the vaccine is both safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 infections.
The vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent and can cause minor side effects, including fever, headache, and fatigue. It also appears to do a better job at preventing severe diseases compared to Pfizer's vaccine, which was granted approval last week. There is also evidence that the vaccine could slow the spread of COVID-19 after the initial injection. A second document published by the FDA found that the rate of asymptomatic infection dropped by 63%.
The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday (December 18) to hear testimony from medical experts as they review the data from Moderna's clinical trials. The committee is expected to recommend the vaccine for emergency use authorization, and the agency could approve it by Friday.
That would provide millions of new doses to hospitals around the country, which comes as the number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations continue to rise. The U.S. has already agreed to purchase 300 million doses of the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer in the first quarter of 2021. Because the vaccines require two doses, that is enough to vaccinate 150 million people.
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