A committee of experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously Saturday to recommend Moderna's COVID vaccine for emergency use, the second one approved for use in the U.S., Stat News reported.
After a day-long meeting of the panel Friday, the recommendation was made to discuss the treatment's safety, efficacy, and possible side effects. Twenty committee members voted to formally recommend that agency to give the green light for the vaccine for use in Americans 18 years old and above.
The drug from Moderna is the second COVID vaccine to be granted authorization in the U.S. after a similar vaccine from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech was approved for emergency use.
As with the Pfizer-BioNTech treatment, a panel within the CDC is set to release a new guideline on how the vaccinations must be safely carried out.
Currently, frontline health care workers and nursing home residents and personnel are being administered with the vaccine in what's known as Phase 1A of the treatment's distribution. The Massachusetts-headquartered biotech expects to roll out around 20 million doses by the end of 2020.
The distribution of Moderna's vaccine in the U.S. kicked off Saturday, with over 3,700 inoculation centers set to start receiving and giving doses as soon as Monday.
The two-shot treatment was proven to be 95 percent effective during a clinical test. The vaccine can be stored in 2-8 degree Celsius temperatures -- providing more optimism. The doses could set the stage for more large-scale distribution of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.
"We look forward to getting our vaccine to people in the U.S. to help address this ongoing public health emergency." chief executive officer Stephane Bancel said, as per Yahoo Finance report.
The majority decision represents progress towards containing the coronavirus pandemic, Beth Bell, a member of the panel and chair of its COVID vaccines workgroup, said following the vote.
Moderna was one of the first companies to get funding from the U.S. government to help fund its vaccine research and development. In return, the government is seen to get 200 million doses, which it will distribute across the U.S., with the option to buy 300 million additional doses.
Never before in the history of medicines have health experts and scientists been able to test, develop and manufacture a vaccine for a highly-contagious virus in a very short time - just less than a year for both Moderna and Pfizer. Several other vaccines are still being studied and developed.