The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for emergency use on Friday the vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) of Moderna Inc., giving the country and perhaps other countries another tool to beat back the virus.
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 US history starts to ramp up.
The two work “better than we almost dared to hope,” National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins said. “Science is working here, science has done something amazing.” NIH is the partner of Moderna in developing the Covid-19 vaccine.
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.
FDA’s decision could help pave the way for other countries that are considering the Moderna vaccine, the first-ever regulatory clearance for the small Cambridge, Massachusetts, company. European regulators could authorize its use as soon as Jan. 6. Britain, Canada and a few other countries already have cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, with a European Union decision due on Monday. SOVEREIGNPH