The drugmaker Moderna applied to the FDA to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. Moderna’s application is based on data showing that its vaccine is 94.1 percent effective. The new data also showed that the vaccine was 100 percent effective at preventing severe disease from the coronavirus.
That is great news. The first injections may even be given before Christmas once the approval is granted.
Stéphane Bancel is the company’s chief executive. “This is why I think this vaccine is going to be a game-changer,” he said. The vaccine will reduce hospitalizations and deaths. He added, “I hope to get this country back to its pre-pandemic state.”
Bancel said the company was “on track” to produce 20 million doses by the end of December, and 500 million to a billion in 2021. Today, a panel of advisers will meet to determine how to allocate initial supplies of vaccine.
More than 70 coronavirus vaccines are being developed around the world. Moderna will not start shipping vaccines until the FDA grants the emergency authorization. However, the government arranged to buy vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer and to provide it to the public free of charge.
Coronavirus cases have surged and overwhelmed hospitals. Experts and health officials warn that the numbers will grow because of Thanksgiving. In November alone, there have been more than four million new cases and 26,000 deaths in the United States.
The run-up in cases during November suggests that daily deaths may approach 3,000 in December. If you track the number of new cases, you can accurately predict the number of deaths three weeks later. Every 100 new cases in the U.S. has led to an average of about 1.7 deaths with a three-week lag.
Severe staffing and bed shortages are crippling efforts to provide adequate care for patients. Please wear a mask. Stay safe.