US approves Moderna as second vaccine

US approves Moderna as second vaccine
The US has the world's highest numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna has been approved by the US government as the country’s second vaccine of this kind, clearing the way for millions of doses to be released.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the US-made vaccine about a week after approving the first vaccine which is now being distributed.

The US has agreed to purchase 200 million doses of Moderna vaccine, and six million may be ready to ship now.

The country has the world’s highest numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths.

It has recorded at least 17,269,542 infections and 311,529 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr James Hildreth, CEO of Meharry Medical College in Tennessee, said: “To go from having a sequence of a virus in January to having two vaccines available in December is a remarkable achievement.”

On Thursday, an FDA advisory panel voted 20-0 with one abstention that the benefits of the Moderna vaccine outweighed the risks for those aged 18 and over, and authorisation followed on Friday.

Earlier this week, regulators reported that the Moderna vaccine was safe and 94% effective.

US President Donald Trump, who hours before the official announcement about the second vaccine, tweeted that the vaccine had been “overwhelmingly approved” and distribution would “start immediately”, celebrated the news.

The vaccine requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping – similar to a normal freezer.

Meanwhile, Pfizer’s vaccine, which was first approved in the US, requires temperatures closer to -75C, making transport logistics much more difficult.

You may read: US Vice-President Mike Pence receives vaccine live on TV