New COVID-19 vaccine could be here in a matter of weeks

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The COVID-19 vaccine could be out before Christmas.

Jack Edner, Staff Writer

Pharmaceutical company Moderna has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine this Monday. If it’s accepted, people could be getting their shots as soon as Dec. 21.

The FDA will be reviewing Moderna’s data, which shows a 94.1% effectiveness rate at preventing coronavirus and a 100% effectiveness in preventing serious cases.

In the study, 30,000 people were administered either the Moderna vaccine or a placebo. Of the approximate 15,000 people that received the vaccine, 11 developed COVID-19. Of the 15,000 people that received the placebo, 185 developed COVID-19. Of the 185 cases, 30 people became severely ill, one of which died.

The FDA is scheduled to meet with its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Dec. 17 to review Moderna’s application. Among that panel is Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at the University of Pennsylvania. Offit has stated that he will be looking into the 11 cases that developed with the vaccine.

“Were they more likely to be older? Were they more likely to be African American or obese or have underlying medical problems like diabetes?” said Offit.

Moderna’s chief medical officer Dr. Tal Zaks said he became very emotional when he saw the data.

“It was the first time I allowed myself to cry,” Zaks said. “We have a full expectation to change the course of this pandemic.”

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