The FDA suddenly has an embarrassment of riches on its hands. Their advisory board already has the data from Pfizer on its 95% effective COVID-19 vaccine and should decide by next week whether to grant emergency-use status. That will allow as many as 20 million doses to get distributed within 24 hours of their grant of approval, which is overwhelmingly expected. In fact, the FDA and CDC are already doing dry runs to make distribution as effective as possible.
As expected, Moderna now says it’s ready with a vaccine that’s just as effective and easy to use. By mid-December, it looks like the FDA will have two vaccines to distribute with millions of doses of each, and much more on the way. And the effectiveness of both is basically an epidemiologist’s dream come true:
The company’s actions come after a final analysis of its 30,000-person late-stage trial show the vaccine to have 94.1 percent efficacy, on par with the 94.5 percent reported in a preliminary analysis. The vaccine worked consistently for different ages, races, ethnicities and genders, and the side effects were mild, Moderna said.
New information: The final analysis was based on 196 cases of Covid-19 reported among the study participants. The vast majority — 185 — occurred in people who got a placebo, compared to just 11 among people who got the vaccine.
All 30 severe cases took place in the placebo group, and one participant in the placebo group died of the virus, Moderna said.
The most common side effects included pain at the vaccine injection site, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headache and redness. The side effects were worse after the second of two doses of the vaccine, which are normally given four weeks apart.