It is exactly what a COVID-weary world needs to hear: for the second time in two weeks, hope for a vaccine. Moderna announced Monday that early analysis from its Phase 3 trial shows its COVID-19 vaccine is almost 95% effective at preventing the illness.
"It means some hope that we are going to beat this thing and we're going to beat it sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna.
One week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate appears to be 90% effective, Moderna announced its vaccine appears to be almost 95% effective with 30,000 participants in the trial and no safety concerns.
The announcement raised hopes the FDA could soon grant emergency use authorization.
"We project that by the end of December that there will be doses of vaccines available for individuals in the higher risk category from both companies we hope," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.
UCSF Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. George Rutherford, says the timing of the two vaccines is significant in the fight against the coronavirus.
“We’ll have twice as many doses as we might’ve had,” he said. “You can get vaccinated with one or the other but instead of 50 million doses we will have 100 million doses.”
Some questions are yet to be answered. Like, will this vaccine be as effective on children as only adults have been tested so far. And how long will the vaccines provide protection? Dr. Rutherford says that’s also to be determined but, the hope is they will last on the order of five years and then maybe you’ll need to get boosted.”
The National Academy of Medicine recommends health care workers and first responders get the vaccine first, followed by seniors in care facilities and people with underlying conditions.
It’s hoped there will be enough doses for every American by next spring, and by then, other vaccines are expected to be available.