First shipments of Moderna vaccine roll out after FDA approval
Moderna began rolling out the first shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday after it became the second candidate to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to NBC News, the biotechnology company is using health care company McKesson to distribute the shots.
UPS and FedEx trucks stocked with the vaccine were reportedly seen leaving McKesson’s distribution centers in Mississippi and Kentucky early Sunday afternoon.
Moderna is also reportedly distributing the ancillary supply kits required to apply the medication.
McKesson CEO Brian Tyler told NBC News in a statement on Sunday that the company is “honored to be a partner with the U.S. government and other private-sector companies such as Moderna to support in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the ancillary supply kits.”
Moderna reportedly has roughly 6 million doses of the new vaccine lined up for distribution in the U.S.
Moderna’s vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective for the general population, as is the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that began distribution a week ago. However, for those over the age of 65, Moderna’s vaccine was found to be 86 percent effective.
But Moderna’s vaccine could pose fewer challenges for distribution, as it does not need the same ultra-cold environment required by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for storage.
The FDA authorized the Moderna vaccine for emergency use on Friday after an agency advisory panel voted unanimously in favor of approving the vaccine earlier in the week.
The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program has invested billions into the manufacturing of Moderna’s vaccine as well as its distribution.