Moderna Asks for Emergency Clearance to Begin Distributing COVID-19 Vaccine

Moderna's late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine showed it to be 94% effective. They're hoping to distribute the first doses before the end of the year.

Moderna vaccine

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Moderna vaccine

Moderna is asking regulators in the U.S. and Europe to fast-track emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, after tests showed it to be 94 percent effective in protecting users against the deadly virus.

The two-shot vaccine was tested on a massive sample of 30,000 people. Over the course of the the study, 196 people overall came down with the virus. Of those 196,185 were members of the placebo group who had recieved a fake shot. Only 11 people who had recieved the actual vaccine became ill with coronavirus, good for an effectiveness rate of just over 94 percent. 

“This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease with 94.1 percent efficacy and importantly, the ability to prevent severe COVID-19 disease. We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalizations and death,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement announcing the results.

Moderna noted that their results were consistent across age and racial groups and that no one who took their vaccine became seriously ill. All 30 of the sample members who became gravely ill with coronavirus, including one person who passed away, belonged to the placebo group. 

Moderna is the second company to seek approval for a fast-tracked vaccine in the U.S. Pfizer requested a hearing on its own vaccine on Nov. 20. In the UK, a vaccine is also under consideration from AstraZeneca. The vaccine has not been tested on minors and a potential vaccine for children would still have to undergo testing. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the FDA will move "as quickly as possible" to clear both vaccines for use. Azar added that he expects as many as 20 million potential vaccinations by the end of this year. 

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