CDC panel votes to recommend Moderna vaccine for emergency use

CDC panel votes to recommend Moderna vaccine for emergency use
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A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday voted to push forward with Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in people ages 18 and older. 

CDC Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldHouse Democrats expand probe into political interference into CDC during Trump administration Redfield says he thinks virus 'evolved' in lab to transmit better Ex-CDC director Redfield says he received death threats from fellow scientists over COVID-19 theory MORE is expected to accept the recommendation from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices this weekend, CNN reported.  

The vaccine, which was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday, cannot be administered until it gets final approval from Redfield. 

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“Safety has been a paramount focus,” José Romero, the CDC advisory committee’s chair and a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Arkansas, said Saturday, according to USA Today

The FDA cleared Moderna’s vaccine Friday following a unanimous recommendation from an agency advisory panel Thursday.

Moderna’s vaccine, like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is about 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 for the general population.

The news comes as thousands of people have already received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following emergency approval last week. 

Moderna’s vaccine was found to be 86 percent effective for people over age 65. 

The CDC panel’s age recommendation for the Moderna vaccine Saturday also marks a change from its guidance last week for the Pfizer-BioNTech treatment, which advised the inoculation for people ages 16 and older. 

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Moderna's vaccine is anticipated to create fewer logistical challenges, as it does not require the same ultra-cold storage as Pfizer's vaccine.

It can remain stable for up to 30 days at the same temperature as a standard freezer.

Unlike Pfizer's vaccine, Moderna's was developed with significant federal funding. The Trump administration has invested $4.1 billion into the vaccine's development and distribution, and the National Institutes of Health helped run clinical trials for the company.

Officials announced earlier Saturday that distribution of the Moderna vaccine would begin this weekend. 

"Distribution of Moderna vaccine has already begun," Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, the administration's effort to advance vaccine development and distribution, said during a briefing.

"Boxes are being packed and loaded today. Trucks will begin rolling out tomorrow, from FedEx and UPS, delivering vaccines and kits to the American people across the United States," he added.